Only Rs38b released for erstwhile FATA out of allocated Rs83b
Despite the tall claims made by the ruling PTI about bringing the erstwhile FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) at par with the rest of the country, the fact of the matter is the government has been unable to even issue the allocated money, just forget the additional funds.
The ground reality can be gauged from a report by 24NewsHD TV channel which says only Rs38 billion out of a total development budget of Rs83 billion were released in the last financial year, the first after the merger of FATA with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
It means less than 45 percent of the amount allocated by the government for development in these districts have been utilised with a net result of incomplete or unexecuted projects.
These revelations has been made in a report prepared by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Planning and Development Department.
A worrisome aspect of this state of affairs is that there shouldn’t have been any hurdle in delivering the promises made to the people of this region because the PTI is in power both in the province and the Centre. There should have been complete coordination. But the situation is totally different.
In this connection, the report says the Centre had promised an amount of Rs72 billion but released Rs37 billion only. Meanwhile, the provincial government disbursed Rs1 billion only against its share of Rs11 billion.
Thus, it is not a surprise that only 127 projects could be launched in the region when 206 had been planned.
According to the official document, no visible change could be witnessed in erstwhile FATA in connection with development projects despite the merger. Furthermore, administrative issues meant that even the offices of some departments were not established besides hampering the utilisation of funds.
It mentioned that land could not be acquired for government purposes because of the absence of land acquisition law.
Despite the promise, the promised 3 percent share of the other provinces in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award was also not obtained for the region.
However, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said the promises made with the region about development projects would be materialised.
The hurdles in land acquisition had been removed after the provincial legislature passed the necessary law, Jhagra said while blaming the coronavirus for the difficulties in fund utilisation in the last two quarters.