ISLAMABAD  -   The Public Accounts Committee Monday strictly instructed all the relevant federal ministries for regularly holding meetings of Departmental Accounts Committee to resolve audit objections, including misappropriations of their relevant departments.

The meeting chaired by PAC chairman Shebaz Sharif reviewed the audit objections related to commerce ministry. “All ministries should hold Departmental Accounts Committee (DAC) meetings regularly to avoid backlog,” PAC chairman Sharif issued instructions during the meeting.

The chairman said he had issued this instruction in the first meeting. “Now, it should not be repeated, as only audit paras of over Rs50 million should be discussed in the PAC,” he said.  Reviewing the audit objections on unauthorised payment of bonus worth Rs193 million, a PAC member Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said that there should be regular DAC meeting.

A PAC member Shahida Akhtar requested the chair to issue proper instructions to ministries for holding meetings of Departmental Accounts Committee. A PAC member Sardar Nasrullah Daraishak shared weird reasons with the committee about the heavy agenda of PAC.

“We are not going home (concerned constituencies) since the PAC meetings have started...The heavy agenda of PAC is the reason behind it, as we have to stay here,” said PAC member, creating amusement among the participants.

Chairman Shehbaz Sharif also in a lighter tone made a comment that he was not able to go home due to some other reason. Sharif is in NAB custody and attending the proceedings of the committee on production order.

About the irregularities less than Rs50 million, the chairman said that the audit objections less than Rs50 million should not be brought in the main committee. “I have already asked that less than Rs50 million should be resolved in the sub-committees,” he commented.

Accountant General (AG) also said the issue for not holding DAC meeting is chronic. “DAC meetings issue is a chronic...It needs to be resolved,” he commented.

On Monday, the committee settled all the audit objections after hearing the arguments of Federal Secretary for Commerce ministry Younas Dhaga.

The committee settled the audit objections about unjustified payment in Thatta Cement Company of Rs98.47 million, unauthorised payment of bonus worth Rs193.4m and others.

About the matter related to the non-recovery of utility charges and liquidated damages worth Rs78.46 million, the secretary commerce ensured the committee to share the details of this matter in the next meeting.

About the matter of fake insurance agents, the committee was informed that all the measures were being taken according to the rules and regulations. In the current fiscal year, the secretary said, budget deficit would reduce by nearly Rs5 billion.

The committee only discussed the matters related to over Rs50 million and rest of the audit objections would be discussed in the sub-committees of PAC. About irregularities in Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), the NAB official shared that the alleged misappropriations case would be dealt with now.