ISLAMABAD: ECC approved the increase in discretionary spending of parliamentarians to Rs90 billion, in complete disregard of the looming economic meltdown. The allocation includes Rs844 million for the renovation of judges’ residences as well.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, heads the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet. Dar, who is responsible for saving the country from sovereign default, made the decisions.
The approval comes at a time when Pakistan is struggling to cope with the conditions set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The country is to ensure a primary fiscal balance, for reviving the derailed loan program, the committee took to allocate the available balance to non-productive expenditures.
ECC approved the additional Rs3 billion despite the recommendation by the National Austerity Committee to stop funding for the parliamentarians’ schemes. Although Rs3.8 billion may appear small in comparison to the overall budget, it shows the rulers’ lack of empathy for the people’s situation.
This indicates that the committee is just another debating club.
ECC Budgeting Decisions
Earlier the PDM government had allocated Rs70 billion for the parliamentarians’ schemes. A few months ago the ceiling was increased to Rs87 billion. The entitled each MNA spending upto Rs500 million. With the fresh increase, the budget of parliamentarians’ schemes has shot up to Rs90 billion.
The recently elected new members of National Assembly will recommend the spending of Rs3Bn.
Allocation for Renovation of Judges Residence
The ECC approved a supplementary grant of Rs844.4 million in favor of the Ministry of Housing and Works for the repair and maintenance of Supreme Court of Pakistan building, judges’ residences, rest houses and sub-offices in various cities
Budget Slashed for academic Research
ECC decided to give Rs3 billion to parliamentarians, slashing the budget of an educational institute and the Innovation Support Project. The Rs.1.4 Billion PIDE budget stands slashed.
allocations for Energy Sector
ECC granted an extension in the Adam X-1 development and production lease for a period of five years with effect from February 2022. The aim is to increase oil and gas production and reduce energy imports.
It allowed one-year Extended Well Testing (EWT) over Umair SE-1 discovery in Guddu. The oil exploration license was granted to the Guddu block in 1999. It is operated by Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL). Based on the results of seismic data, OGDCL has made a new discovery in the Guddu.
Allocations for SDGs achievement
Rupees 03Bn for the Cabinet Division for development expenditure under the SDG Achievement Program (SAP). The term is commonly refers to the parliamentarians’ schemes.
allocation increased for BISP Transfer Program
The coordination committee approved the provision of Rs8.4Bn subsidy in favor of BISP. Cash subsidy designed for the farmers of flood-hit areas.
The meeting directed BISP to initiate cash disbursement through its partner bank as per the eligibility criteria. The government of Sindh will identify the eligible persons.
Approval for the deceased
The EC also approved the two summaries of the Ministry of Interior. It has requested for the grant of financial aid of Rs10M for the heirs of I-10 blast victim. And the other one of Rs20M for the heirs of the victim of recent long march of a political party.