ISLAMABAD - Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Saturday said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government was introducing number of reforms in all national institutions to ensure transparency as promised in its manifesto.

The minister while addressing a joint press conference along with Chairman Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission Ahmed Yar Hiraj said that the Accountant General Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) was an important institution which made payments for all public sector procurements.

He said that it was noticed that purchases made by the government are costlier than the similar purchases made by the private sector as AGPR had to be paid bribes

 for clearance of bills and issuance of cheques. He said that the institutions add the amount paid to AGPR in the cost of the items purchased.

He said as per an estimate, every year Rs 1 trillion purchases were done  by the federal government, and  Rs 150 to 175billions were paid as higher cost. He said at provincial level similar purchases and procurements were done on higher cost resulting in loss to the national exchequer. 

This did not include public sector corporations and independent institutions like PIA, NHA and others, he added.

He said that during the past 10 years the national exchequer suffered Rs 4 trillion losses due to malpractices in the AGPR and the then governments took no action to stop these practices as they were also receiving commission and kickbacks from the system.

He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan neither has any personal business nor his family was in politics, so he had the moral courage and mandate to rectify these malpractices continuing since many decades.

He said that opposition parties were holding meetings to pressurise Imran Khan to stop the accountability process but he will never budge to their tactics. Replying to the questions of media persons, he said that PTI was the only party which expelled its members from the provincial assembly who violated party policy in Senate elections. He said that Imran Khan has been struggling against the corrupt system for 24 years and there was no place for corrupt elements in the party. He said that the PM has been keeping an eye on all ministers and anyone involved in malpractices would be taken to task.

Appreciating the Chief Justice of Pakistan for allowing the constitution of 120 more accountability courts, he said that opposition parties were feeling the heat so they were organizing so-called all party conferences.

To a question, he said that the opposition parties were divided, having no consensus on any issue. He said that the PML- N and PPP had differences of opinion on many issues they were only united when they feared the accountability process.

 

About handling of coronavirus, he said that with the grace of Allah Almighty, Pakistan under the leadership and vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan had handled the situation much better than many advanced countries having strong economies and modern healthcare systems.  He said that now the entire world has appreciated the approach of Pakistan government to control the spread of coronavirus but at the same time protect the people from hunger and unemployment. He said that the strategy adopted by Prime Minister Imran Khan against coronavirus was spot on and the other countries were trying to replicate the same in their own countries.

 

Speaking on this occasion, Chairman Prime Minister’s Inspection Team Ahmad Yar Hiraj said that the government was paying the cost of corrupt practices that have been committed by the employees of Accountant General Pakistan Revenue (AGPR) and other institutions.

 

He said that reformation of institutions was part of the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Ahmad Yar Hiraj said recommendations regarding reforms in Accountant General Pakistan Revenue were also being sent to the Prime Minister. He said that his commission had recommended SOPs which matched the PM’s vision of digital Pakistan. He said that a system update has been proposed so that the amounts of the cheques to be issued to various institutions should directly go to the accounts like the salaries of the employees with no chance of corruption. Moreover the AGPR should issue the list containing details of the requirements for clearance of bills on its website, so that no objection should be raised to delay the payments. He said it was unfortunate that the malpractices rampant in AGPR were now spread to other institutions as well. He said in AGPR postings of Grade 21 and 22 officers were being done without approval of the PM, which was also against the rules and would be stopped forthwith. He said that during past ten year the national exchequer lost Rs 4 trillion due to malpractices in AGPR which could have been saved if the then governments had taken action.

 

He said it was noticed by PMIC that government purchases were costing more than the similar procurements done by the private sector. He said that this was called speed money or corruption as no bill was cleared from AGPR easily as objections were raised to get a gratification amount.  As the vendors had to bribe the AGPR staff, they showed an increase in prices of purchased items to adjust the amount, which proved an additional burden on national exchequer.

 

He said FIA had also been directed to take action against the employees of AGPR who were involved in malpractices after evaluating the details of their assets. He said that when he took charge, he realised that performance of almost all institutions was marred by malpractices.

 

He said that previous governments remained silent over the rampant malpractices and credit of taking this initiative goes to PTI regime He said under the reforms agenda of the government, the Inspection Commission has completed 24 inspections during 18 months. He said reports of these inspections have been sent to the Prime Minister and actions are being taken against the culprits involved in corruption and embezzlement.