ISLAMABAD - Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly on Wednesday was informed that Benazir Income Support Programme did not distribute funds worth Rs5 billion among the poor, as the funds remained unused in previous government tenure.

The sub-committee, chaired by PPP’s senior parliamentarian Sherry Rehman, ordered the concerned department to share the reasons behind unused funds within a week. The committee reviewed the audit objections related to Ministry of Housing and Works and the BISP.

“Those relying on these funds must have suffered a lot”, PAC member Brig (r) Aijaz Shah said. Action should be taken against this negligence, he said.

The BISP officials said that 74,000 people having BISP cards were deprived during the previous regime. He said that a total of 5.7 million people in the country were BISP card holders.

“Deserving people in the country are living miserable lives”, Sherry Rehman commented.

The committee was also informed that the federal cabinet had approved to give money for government officials from grade 20-22, instead of giving them official vehicles. Some of the officials had also taken Rs7 million in this head, they said.

The previous government had implemented ‘Compulsory Monetisation of Transport Facility for Civil Servants in BS-20 to BS-22’, which was implemented from 1st January, 2012. The basic objective of this transport monetisation policy was in line with observance of the austerity measures and to eliminate any possibility of misuse of official vehicles, as well as, to restrict the maintenance expenditures of the vehicles.

The PAC last month had found irregularities in different contracts of the BISP as the prescribed rules and regulations were ignored. About regulations for disbursement of funds not approved by the BISP worth Rs74,412, the audit officials said that the BISP management violated the rules.

ALVI ASKS RSPN, BISP TO HELP CUT POVERTY

President Dr Arif Alvi has asked Rural Support Program Network and Benazir Income Support Programme officials to extend cooperation with each other to alleviate poverty from the country.

Talking to Chairman RSPN Shoaib Sultan here on Wednesday, he stressed the need of further expanding the programme in different parts of the country. The President said that with focus on tourism, we can also remove poverty from our rural area.

He said that development of agriculture sector was imperative for progress and prosperity of rural areas. He asked to bring forward women in every field of these areas.

The President also directed to create awareness about hygienic and women rights among the people of far flung areas. He also directed to initiate health and education projects with cooperation of respective ministries.

A detailed briefing was given to President Dr Arif Alvi about the RSPN on the occasion.