LAHORE - In a last ditch effort to avert the Bank of Punjab financial crises, the Punjab government has directed all 144 town/tehsil municipal administrations in the province to shift their accounts to the BoP, sources informed The Nation on Friday. The Secretary Finance Sohail Ahmed has directed nazims and TMOs of all the TMAs to maintain and operate accounts of their respective local governments solely in the BoP with immediate effect. Earlier, the TMAs had the option of maintaining and operating their respective funds either in the National Bank of Pakistan or the BoP. The Punjab government has made it clear to the TMAs that they have no other option except to maintain and operate their accounts only in the BoP. The Secretary Finance has directed the nazims and TMOs to give top priority to the shifting of their accounts from the NBP to BoP without any exceptions. The Secretary Finance has also forwarded the copy of the letter to the secretary Local Government and Community Development Department with the request to reiterate the instructions to the TMAs and ensure implementation on the directions in letter and spirit. The BoP has suffered a loss of Rs 5.38 billion since the bank scandal surfaced as the leading businessmen and industrialists started withdrawing their amounts. The shares of the BoP also declined by 15 per cent in the stock-exchange after the scandal of embezzlement and irregularities was unearthed and the government agencies initiated high-level inquiries against its top management including the sacking of President Hamesh Khan. The officials believe that the directions of shifting the accounts of TMAs to the BoP was an effort to save the bank from crises. "The BoP is facing financial crisis after detection of scam and resultant action against the top officials. The major account holders withdrew their money from the BoP. The BoP is in the Intensive Care Unit these days and the government has provided oxygen to it in the shape of shifting funds of TMAs worth over billions of rupees to the bank", said a government official on the condition of anonymity. "Shifting of funds of local governments from NBP to the BoP is a step that will damage the federation. The government decision will fan provincialism", said a town nazim, adding, he would convey his feelings to the Punjab Government.