Islamabad - Audit observations on the National Testing Service (NTS) by Auditor General Pakistan (AGP) are unjust as the organisation does not receive any funding from the government, NTS head said on Monday.

Chief Operating Officer (COO) NTS Dr Sherzada Khan said this in a media briefing held here on Monday. However, he also contradicted his own statement and said: “the government can conduct special audit of anyone”. “We cannot stop government if it orders to conduct audit of the organisation, however, the agency does not receive a single penny from the government,” he added.

He said the NTS is non-profit agency registered with Security & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) which is responsible for holding its own internal and external audit.  He said the agency was not given sufficient time to reply the audit paras in the report.  He rejected allegations of financial embezzlements and misappropriations in the agency and claimed the entire system inside organisation is very transparent. “Not a single official is involved in any kind of financial irregularity,” he said.

He said 80 per cent profit earned by the agency is spent on the expenditures of the organisation and efforts are underway with the government for tax exemption. He said the allegation that NTS does not file tax is totally baseless as Rs199 million tax was paid to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) last year.

“The organisation pay salary to its employees from the profit it earns but it does not pay the Board of Directors (BoDs),” he said. He added that no member BoD is involved in any monetary corruption as the NTS act does not allow them to take any financial benefit from the organisation. “If anyone has earned money by other means, the NTS is not responsible for his act,” he said.  He also said that every policy level decision of the NTS is approved by the BoD and its profit cannot be shifted to any individual.

He said the NTS ensures transparency in conducting tests for different organisations however the hiring surety is not its responsibility. “We only send the qualified names to the client which hires us for conducting the test, and it is further the client’s responsibility to select candidate or not,” he said.

Meanwhile, he also said that no department is perfect and there is always a room for improvement.

Responding to a query on Education Testing Council (ETC) launched by Higher Education Commission (HEC), the NTS said that it is a positive step but the HEC is not conducting it free of cost. “The HEC is taking financial support from the government by giving subsidy to students, and the NTS can conduct the same if it is given the same financial support from the government,” he said.

The AGP in its recent report had observed millions of rupees irregularities and mismanagement in the functions of NTS. The NTS in recent past had locked horns with the government on conducting its audit by AGP.