ISLAMABAD - The federal government could not control its current expenditures as Finance Minister Dr Miftah Ismail would seek ex post facto approval of parliament for Rs 599.4 billion in supplementary grants for expenditure overruns and re-appropriations.

The amount of supplementary grants has increased by 93 percent to Rs599.4 billion in ongoing fiscal year as against Rs310.5 billion of previous year, according to the budget documents placed before parliament. The break-up of Rs599.4 billion supplementary grants showed that Rs184.3 billion is of technical nature and Rs415 billion worth of expenditure overruns would be an additional burden on the budget.

As per rules, the parliament is required to approve these expenditures because the amount is considered to have been already spent. Former finance minister Ishaq Dar in last budget had claimed that government had reduced the volume of supplementary grants. He had said that financial discipline maintained by the government helped in reducing the regular supplementary demands for grants to Rs121 billion during the financial year of 2016/17 from more than one trillion rupees four years back.

However, the supplementary grants have once again recorded massive increase in the outgoing fiscal year. According to the documents, the supplementary grants worth of Rs184.2 billion were for re-appropriations — the shifting of funds from one head to another having no additional impact on the budget. The government has also exceeded the subsidy amount by Rs6 billion during ongoing fiscal year.

Similarly, Rs62.3 billion were additionally spent on the servicing of foreign debt and Rs143.3 billion on foreign loan repayment. Meanwhile, Rs53.8 billion were spent on repayment of short terms foreign credits, which is unapproved and included in supplementary grants. Another Rs149.7 billion was spent on ‘other’ expenditures, the documents showed.

An amount of Rs20.6 million was provided to the Prime Minister office to purchase four new vehicles and Rs14 million was paid at payment of honoraria to the PM office. Meanwhile, Rs60 million was provided for the implementations of the capacity building programme and strengthening of Global Change Impact Studies Centre. An amount of Rs30 million was paid to conduct the 7th South Asian conference on sanitation.

The documents further showed that an amount of Rs200 million was provided for establishing Air University Multan and Rs115 million for upgradatation of health facility in CHG Rawalpindi.  An amount of Rs18 billion was utilised on fencing and lighting of Pak Afghan Border and Rs10 billion on raising special security division.