ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee on Wednesday doled out another Rs20 billion for the Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme (SAP) for parliamentarians through a supplementary grant.
The ECC also approved a supplementary grant of Rs208 million for the Intelligence Bureau (IB). With this approval of Rs20 billion, the funding for controversial SAP programme has been increased from Rs93 billion to Rs113 billion for the financial year.
Initially, the SAP funding was fixed at Rs67 billion on the eve of the budget but it was revised several times and now it went up again. Irrespective of the political divide, all political regimes in the recent past had used the exchequer to please parliamentarians to win them.
The SAP funding has been considered controversial and in violation of the laid down procedures because it does not follow the normal path of securing approval of the development schemes. Secondly, no effective monitoring and evaluation is done to ascertain how much of the fund was actually utilised for execution of small schemes.
According to an official announcement, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar chaired the ECC meeting where the industries ministry submitted a summary on urea fertilizer requirement for 2023 and briefed on the situation. The ECC after a detailed discussion allowed SNGPL-based fertilizer plants, Fatima Fertilizer (Sheikhupura) and Agritech, to operate beyond May 31, 2023, until August 31, 2023, on indigenous gas with no subsidy requirement from the federal government.
The Ministry of Climate Change and Environmental Coordination submitted a summary on the participation of Sindh’s mangroves projects in voluntary carbon markets and stated the Sindh Forest Department is implementing two Indus Delta Mangrove projects, Delta Blue Carbon-I (DBC-I) and Delta Blue Carbon-II (DBC-II), to generate carbon credits and trade with international entities on Voluntary Carbon Market. These projects are expected to generate about US$200 to 220 million by 2043 with additional benefits of creating green jobs.
The ECC considered a summary of the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) on payment mechanism and agreements with M/s Uch Power (Pvt) Limited. After a detailed discussion, the ECC approved the proposals of the Ministry for a Novation Agreement, Master Agreement, and PPA Amendment that would result in the saving of Rs33 billion over a period of seven years. The ECC considered and approved the following Technical Supplementary Grants/ Supplementary Grants: Rs2.5 million in favour of the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment Coordination to meet its expenditures; Rs263.988 million in favour of the office of Controller General of Accounts (CGA) for implementation of online billing solutions in federal and provincial accountant generals; Rs497.261 million in favour of the Ministry of Housing and Works; Rs420 million in favour of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to meet its budgetary shortfall for information services abroad; Rs10,746.216 million in favour of the Federal Directorate of Immunization (FDI) to procure vaccines and syringes for uninterrupted supply to the provinces; Rs20 billion in favour of the Cabinet Division for Sustainable Development Goals Achievement Programme; Rs25 million in favour of the President’s Secretariat for ERE expenditures; Rs208 million in favour of the Intelligence Bureau to meet its Employee Related Expenses; Rs4,000 million in favour of the Ministry of Defence to meet its expenditures.