ISLAMABAD - The government is releasing funds for development programme at much slower pace apparently to restrict budget deficit, which was successfully restricted at 3.2 per cent of the GDP (around Rs 828 billion) during eight months (July-February) of the ongoing financial year 2013-2014.
Government has released Rs 191.85 billion for Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) during more than eight months (July-March 8) of the current fiscal year, which is only 45 per cent of the overall allocation of Rs 425 billion. The government should have released more than 60 per cent of the funds under the release mechanism. Under the disbursement mechanism announced by the government, the authorities are required to release 40 per cent of the total allocation within the first six months of the fiscal year - 20 per cent in the first quarter (July-September) and 20 per cent in the second quarter (October-December). This is to be followed by 30 per cent disbursement in the third quarter, or 10 per cent every month.
“The government apparently wants to restrict the budget deficit within limit of 5.8 per cent of the GDP (around Rs 1500 billion) agreed with International Monetary Fund, therefore it is releasing funds very slowly “, said an official of the Planning Commission while talking to The Nation. The budget deficit was successfully restricted at 3.2 per cent of the GDP (Rs 828 billion) during first eight months (July-February) of the present financial year.
The government has projected budget deficit at 6.3 per cent of the GDP (Rs 1630 billion) for the year 2013-2014.
The official figures of Ministry of Planning and Development showed government has kept Rs 425 billion for the PSDP for the whole financial year 2013-2014. According to the break-up of Rs 191.85 billion released during more than eight months (July-March 8) of the current fiscal year, the government spent Rs 100.98 billion on different ministries and divisions, Rs 63.71 billion on corporations like National Highway Authority and WAPDA, Rs 20.83 billion on special areas like Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit Baltistan and FATA/SAFRON and Rs 6.3 billion on ERRA.  The government has released maximum amount, Rs 37.25 billion, for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), which is 71 per cent of its overall allocation of Rs 52.3 billion. But this has partly been due to substantial flows of foreign funding worth of Rs 15.35 billion. Meanwhile, the government has failed to release funds for Federal Tax Ombudsman in more than eight months of the year although it was allocated Rs31 million for the fiscal. Similarly, the government has released Rs 12.06 billion for Railways Division, Rs 16.49 billion for Water and Power Division, Rs 7.6 billion for Higher Education Commission (HEC), Rs 13.26 billion for Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission and Rs 3.53 billion for Finance Division during the period under review.