No funds released for political gains: Mandviwalla
17 March, 2013
ISLAMABAD: Federal Finance Minister Saleem H Mandviwalla on Saturday dispelled the impression that huge funds have been released for political gains and defended the releases by saying that no unlawful expenditure has been incurred during his 24 days in office.
"The caretaker government would have the mandate to bridge the transition period only, and any big decision required for economy would need to be taken in consultation with all political parties contesting general elections," the minister said, adding that without political parties' consultation no decision would be taken by the caretaker government. While talking to media on his last day in the ministry, Mandviwalla said that funds have been released on account of development schemes not only for the parliamentarians of coalition partners but also for those from apposition parties.
He said these funds have not been released directly to MNAs or senators but to the state institutions for completion of development schemes, and the state institutions, like power and gas companies, would surrender these funds in case they remained un-utilised by the end of this fiscal year. The finance minister said it is a right of any government to make appropriation or adjustments of funds according to the progress of the projects, and the Election Commission of Pakistan has also accepted the viewpoint of the Finance Ministry and has allowed this appropriation for the projects approved by the DDWP, CDWP and ECNEC.
He said that the rules allow the government to incur expenditures and adjust these through supplementary grants and get approval of these from parliament at the time of the approval of the next year's budget. The federal and all four provincial government's have agreed to share Rs 6 billion the expenditure to be incurred on holding general elections in the country and all governments would contribute according to their shares in the 7th National Finance Commission Award. This decision has been reached during the first bi-annual meeting of the NFC Award implementation committee held on Saturday.
Mandviwalla mentioned that during his meeting with the Election Commission of Pakistan officials, the Finance Ministry was asked to release the remaining Rs 4 billion for holding general elections, and the ministry has been informed that the ECP itself has placed a ban on re-adjustment of funds. Due to this ban projects like Neelum-Jhelum hydropower and others have been negatively impacted as the adjustment of funds is made according to the progress on the projects.
While accepting the viewpoint of the Finance Ministry the ECP has allowed the diversion of funds for the already approved projects. The finance minister said that the PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills, Pakistan Railways and many other state institutions were promised additional funds but the were not given the money; however, he made these releases to the state institutions not only to enable them to survive but to improve their working, he added. While criticising the former finance ministers, Mandviwalla said that delayed fund releases to these institutions has increased the their miseries. He also dispelled the impression that the government has withdrawn the orders for 20% increase in the salaries of the remaining federal ministries.