PAC grills secy industries for comparing USC with Walmart

ISLAMABAD – The Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday grilled Federal Secretary Industries and Production Jawad Rafique Malik for comparing Utility Stores Corporation (USC) with international grocery chains like Walmart of the United States and termed bureaucracy an hurdle in the way of good governance.     

The PAC urged the federal government to either close USC or improve its service delivery for the poor people, where they can get essential quality items on affordable rates. 

The PAC met under the chair of MNA Rana Tanveer Hussain at Parliament House to discuss audit objections of the Ministry of Industries and Production.   

Replying to a question regarding shelving substandard commodities, embezzlements and poor state of the affairs at USC, the Federal Secretary tried to convince the committee. 

He said the incumbent government is trying its best to improve the service delivery at USC and said, “We are following the models of international grocery chains like Walmart and other.” 

However, senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Khawja Muhammad Asif inquired from the top bureaucrat, “What are you saying? Is there any comparison between USC and Walmart.”  He claimed that embezzlements in USC are being done under the umbrella of the Ministry of Industries.  

The Chairman PAC Rana Tanveer Hussain tried to rescue Jawad Raffique Malik by saying that he is not fully aware of the corporation and has quoted the example because he recently concluded his tour aboard, where he met with his children. 

However, Khawaja Asif said politicians are asked by National Accountability Bureau to provide details of even family trips but the bureaucrats are untouchables.  

He said Utilities Stores Corporation is useless for public as it is costing billions of rupees to national exchequer every year but the amount is going into the pockets of bureaucrats.           

Earlier, the PAC was informed that there are irregularities of about Rs4 billion in COVID-19 funds given to the Utility Stores Corporation. The Chairman PAC Rana Tanveer Hussain said that the corporation should be used to serve the poor segment of the society not on commercial bases. 

He said recently a head for the corporation was hired from private 

The committee directed the Federal Secretary Industries to bring a proposal to revamp the corporation in next meeting otherwise the committee would recommend its closure.

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