Islamabad - A number of government departments owe around Rs26 billion to the Utility Stores Corporation, the National Assembly was told on Thursday.

The Ministry of Finance tops the list with Rs22.25 billion outstanding dues on account of subsidy on sugar.

The finance department has to pay Rs513.64 million against the 2017 Ramzan Package subsidy and Rs2.84 billion for the PM Relief Package subsidy, the House was told.

Similarly, the National Disaster Management Authority owes Rs155 million against the supply of relief goods. The Ministry of Interior and the Punjab government owe Rs16.65 million and Rs0.755 million respectively.

The Lower House of the Parliament was told that the Pakistan Bait-ul Mal, the Relief Commissioner Sindh and the Prime Minister Secretariat Zakat and Usher Division have to pay a huge sum to USC against miscellaneous supplies.

Similarly, the National TB Control Programme owes Rs37 million to the USC against the relief package to TB patients.

The defaulting departments and the Ministry of Finance have been requested to release the amounts, but the Finance Division has committed no timeframe for the release of funds to USC.

The House was told that commercial export of live animals has been banned since October, 2013 to encourage export of value-added and processed livestock products and utilize the remaining animal byproducts in the country.

The House was told that the ban was still in place, but the export of processed meat and meat products were encouraged, as it not only fetched better price in 5 international markets, but also provided precious livestock by-products such as hides, skins, casings, bones, blood, tallow, maintaining many downstream industries in the country. 

Resultantly, the export of meat, meat products and livestock by-products rose to $243.221 million in 2016-17 from $214.5 million in 2012-13 as compared to $20 million earned from the export of live animals in 2012-13.

Parliamentary Secretary for National Health Services Farhana Qamar told the House that an estimated 600,000 polio related paralysis cases and deaths have been prevented due to timely interventions and concerted efforts.

She said that a number of polio cases have steadily declined from the highest of 306 in 2014 to just 8 last year while no polio case has been reported during the current year.

Minister for Housing and Works Akram Khan Durrani informed the House that work on housing schemes in Bhara Kahu and Thallian in Islamabad has been held due to interventions by courts, the NAB and the Public Accounts Committee.

National Assembly Standing Committee on Housing member Sardar Ashiq Hussain Gopang criticized the housing ministry and said that the Thalian housing scheme was shelved as the ministry failed to get possession of the land for the housing society.

He said that housing ministry has collected a huge sum from government employees but the scheme seemed not to materialize in the near future since ministry has not taken possession of the land.

Minister for Religious Affairs Sardar Muhammad Yousaf told the House that intending Hajj pilgrims are airlifted on a fifty-fifty basis by the PIA and the Saudi Airlines under an agreement.