Several depts still to start spending on uplift projects
Karachi – Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its government in Sindh had expressed their commitment to carry out record development work in the province.
But now with next year likely to be the election year for the country, the commitments, however, do not seem to materialise.
Although Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had announced 22 percent increase in the budget of annual development plan (ADP) for the ongoing fiscal year, 2017-18, still more than one-third of the provincial government departments are yet to spend a single penny on their uplift projects despite passage of more than five months of the fiscal year.
According to the data available, out of 48 provincial government departments, there are 17, which are yet to begin spending.
As per data, the provincial government had allocated an amount of Rs15,000 million for the lining of main canals. But not a single penny has been released for the expenditures so far.
Similarly, Rs5000 million were allocated for the uplift projects under the head of new development initiatives while Rs3005 million had been earmarked for the energy sector, but the finance department did not release any amount to the departments.
The finance department itself had allocated Rs2,000 for the development projects, but no releases were made during the five months.
The issue of garbage lifting in Sindh, especially in Karachi, is of utmost importance and the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board had been established precisely for that purpose.
But despite the severity of the situation and an allocation of Rs2950.47 million, this important sector is still awaiting spending.
Some of the other departments that are yet to release the amounts include Sindh Revenue Board (SRB), for which an allocation of Rs290 million was made, Women Development, having an allocation of Rs426 million, Katchi Abadis for which Rs100 million were earmarked, Cooperative Department, having an allocation of Rs11 million and mines and minerals, for which Rs50 million were allocated. The provincial government had also allocated an amount of Rs700 million for the rehabilitation work to be carried out by the Provincial Disaster and Management Authority. Although Rs159.23 million were released, but to no avail as not a single penny was utilised. Likewise, Rs213 million were allocated for the Special Education Department, but no expenditures were made despite the release of Rs18 million.
Similarly, funds were also released for other departments like Excise and Taxation, Food, Human Rights, Information and Archives and Provincial Ombudsman, but without any expenditures.
Although the provincial government points fingers at the federal government for resorting to excessive loadshedding in the province, but on the other hand it is, itself, delaying start of work on the power projects it had announced to provide alternate energy resources for the supply of electricity.
It had earmarked Rs380 million for the electrification of primary health facilities through solar PV technology. However, it seems as if it is not ready to end its dependency on conventional power supply means as it is yet to open its coffers.
Similarly the village electrification programmes across Sindh, including Karachi, are yet to kick off despite their approval in 2016 and an allocation of Rs3,000 million and Rs 600 million respectively.
The provincial government had declared women development as its priority, but on paper the results are zero as the skill development centres, hostels and other projects that are meant to include them in the society are yet to receive funds.
Around Rs100 million had been earmarked for the execution of gender reforms action plan, but no amount has been released for the plan so far.
Similarly, a project for the Advocacy for Women Empowerment in Sindh was approved in 2016 and an amount of Rs22.865 million was also allocated for it, but neither any amount was released nor any expenditures were incurred on the project.
The other major projects that did not receive any monetary assistance included a project to build three daycare centres in Karachi and one each at divisional headquarters across province with an allocation of Rs43.413, women complaint centres in different districts with an allocation of Rs50.90 million and women development centres in Karachi with an allocation of Rs62.50 million.
Responding to the queries regarding lack of releases, Sindh Minister for Information Nasir Hussain Shah told The Nation that the provincial government was still committed to carry out record development work in the province and the process was moving forward gradually.
“Work is continuing on several projects and by the year-end we will be able to achieve better results,” he expressed optimism.
He said that during the last year over 80 percent of the funds had been utilised while key development projects in Karachi and in other parts of the province were near completion.