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Finance Ministry releases Rs 7.083 billion out of Rs8.900b allocated budget for FATA

Finance Ministry releases Rs 7.083 billion out of Rs8.900b allocated budget for FATA

ISLAMABAD: The Finance Ministry has released Rs 7.083 billion out of Rs 8.900 billion allocated budget as development budget for Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA) in the first half of current fiscal year (2014-15).

 “It is a comparatively good percentage of released amount out of allocated budget in last four years” statistics related to Finance Ministry and available with this scribe revealed that concerned departments have utilized an amount of Rs.1.670 billion from the released funds.

FATA comprises seven tribal agencies (districts) and six frontier regions, and are directly governed through a special set of laws called the Frontier Crimes Regulatons (FCR). The total population of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas was estimated in 2000 to be about 3,341,070 people, or roughly 2% of Pakistan’s population. Only 3.1% of the population resides in established townships. It is thus the most rural administrative unit in Pakistan.

 Statistics further revealed that an mount of Rs 54.827 billion was fixed as Development Budget in last four fiscal years (2010-11 to 2013-14), however, Rs 50.818 billion were released whereas Rs 49.484 billion were spent.

 Similarly, an amount of Rs 47. 428 billion were allocated as current budget for FATA in last four years, (2010-11 to 2013-14), and entire announced amount was released whereas an amount of Rs 91.271 billion were spent in FATA.

 Statistics show that the excess of Rs.13.850 billion in the Financial years 2010-11 to 2013-14 is due to payment of obligatory expenses such as salary of the employees, as funds were not provided through Supplementary Grants by the Finance Division.

 “ In first half of the current fiscal year (2014-15), total allocated amount of Rs Rs.7.732 billion as current budget has been released so far, however, the Rs 4.383 billion have been spent in this period” the documents showed.

 When contacted to Finance Ministry to get version on this subject, an official said on anonymity condition that funds released to FATA form part of Federal Consolidated Fund, therefore, it is audited annually by the Office of the Auditor General of Pakistan.

 “There have been financial irregularities, as reported in the Audit Reports of the Auditor General of Pakistan for the respective years” the official admitted saying that irregularities, pointed out by the Department of the Auditor General of Pakistan, were being followed up by FATA Secretariat, as well as the concerned Departments, till final settlement, of the observations through recovery or regularization, as the case may be.

 Official said that Rs 58. 924 million have been spent out of allocated amount of Rs 262.688 million on six health related programs in the first half of the current fiscal year so far while Rs 318.383 million were spent out of total allocated amount of Rs 318.656 million in the previous fiscal year.

 The health related programs and projects approved by the competent forum for the betterment of health of women in FATA include Maternal Neonatal Child Health Care, National Program for family planning & Primary health care, Population welfare FATA ,Governor’s Rogh Sehat Program FATA, Health Nutrition program in FATA and Incentive for Nursing students of FATA.

 The official said that Rs 3676.093 million were allocated for the development program and betterment of educational standards in FATA in previous fiscal year and Rs 3281.504 were spent, but in the first half of the current fiscal year Rs 348.794 million have been spent out of total allocated budgetary amount of Rs 3865.706 million.

 It is pertinent to note here that FATA is bordered by Afghanistan to the north and west with the border marked by the Durand Line, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to the east, and Balochistan to the south.The seven Tribal Areas lie in a north-to-south strip that is adjacent to the west side of the six Frontier Regions, which also lie in a north-to-south strip. The areas within each of those two regions are geographically arranged in a sequence from north to south.

The geographical arrangement of the seven Tribal Areas in order from north to south is Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, Orakzai, Kurram, North Waziristan, South Waziristan. The geographical arrangement of the six Frontier Regions in order from north to south is: Peshawar, Kohat, Bannu, Lakki Marwat, Tank, Dera Ismail Khan.