Punjab secretaries reprimanded for low utilisation of uplift funds

Iqtidar Gilani Our Correspondent

09th Oct, 2021. 10:57 am
Usman Buzdar

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. Photo: File

LAHORE: The Punjab chief secretary has conveyed displeasure of Punjab chief minister to the administrative secretaries of six departments for alarmingly low utilisation of the development funds during the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

After the maiden meeting of the review committee this financial year, the chief secretary conveyed dissatisfaction of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to these departments on poor utilisation of development funds released during the first quarter.

From all the departments, only two utilised more than half of the released amount, while those who spent 29 per cent or above managed to escape the CM’s wrath.

Of the six secretaries, three failed to spend even a single penny, while two utilised 3 per cent each and one just 2 per cent of the development funds released during the first quarter.

Environment Protection Department secretary Syed Mubashir Hussain, Human Rights and Minority Affairs Department secretary Nadeem-ur-Rehman and Women Development Department secretary Ambreen Raza were informed about the CM’s displeasure over zero per cent utilisation of the released development funds.

Population Welfare Department secretary Muhammad Masood Mukhtar has been served notice for utilisation of just 2 per cent of the released amount, Auqaf and Religious Affairs Department secretary Nabeel Javed and Mines and Minerals Department secretary Amir Ijaz Akbar have been reprimanded for the utilisation of just 3 per cent of the development funds.

“I am writing to convey to you the deep dissatisfaction expressed by the chief minister on the performance of your department with regard to the utilisation of [the] ADP [Annual Development Programme] funds”, the chief secretary wrote to six secretaries.

“I must caution you that this state of affairs is absolutely unacceptable and you would need to work with commitment and resolve to ensure that the ADP funds allocated for your department are utilised within the stipulated timeframe,” the notice reads.

The review committee meetings are usually convened twice in a month for monitoring the utilisation of funds under the ADP.

During the last fiscal year, the first meeting of the review committee was convened during the fourth quarter. The lack of monitoring at the top level led to the lapse of development funds in almost all the departments.

As per the insiders, Prime Minister Imran Khan selected Dr Kamran Afzal as Punjab chief secretary due to his acquaintance with the financial matters.

On the task of improving financial management of the biggest federating unit, Dr Afzal has shown his intent, while chairing the first meeting of the review committee.

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