ISLAMABAD: The Finance Ministry spent Rs 15.77 million on 12 visits abroad in last four years. These delegations visited US, Japan and Dubai to attend meetings with World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Finance Ministry is of the view that the World Bank reimbursed airfare for its Governors and Alternate Governors who are Finance Minister and Secretary EAD respectively for Annual Meetings of the World Bank and IMF, but the IMF did not reimburse airfare to its Governor and Alternate Governors who were Governor SBP and Secretary Finance respectively and both World Bank and IMF gave Per Diem for three days to its Governor and Alternate Governors.
A senior official of Finance Ministry told this scribe here on anonymity condition that in case of Spring Meetings the entire expenditure was borne by the Government of Pakistan because visits of Annual meetings and spring meetings are obligatory as Pakistan was a member Country of IMF and the World Bank. These visits provide an opportunity to exchange views with dignitaries of the world reputed financial institutions on important economic issues”.
However, official documents available with this scribe related to Finance Ministry disclosed that official delegations from Finance Division (Main) proceeded abroad to attend the obligatory meetings, most of them held in Washington D.C, Japan and Dubai in last four years.
A total amount of Rs 6,221,248/- was spent on eight visits of officials abroad; these visits include, on October 2010, a delegation visited Washington D.C and spent Rs 1,716,725, then second trip of officials to went to Washington D.C in April 2011 and spent Rs 342.764 as TA/DA, boarding and lodging” the documents revealed
Similarly, document stated that in October 2011 an official delegation spent Rs 413,102 on its visit to Washington D.C, and another delegation spent Rs 819,550/ on a separate visit to US in April 2012, as well as in October 2012, a delegation of officials also spent Rs 521,120/ on its visit to Japan.
“Rs 749,170/ incurred on a visit paid to Washington DC in April, 2013, Rs798,118/ were spent on a visit of official delegation to 2013 Washington DC in October, 2013, an amount of Rs 860,672/- was spent by official on their visit to Washington DC in April this year” the document revealed adding that all eight visits were meant to hold discussions with the World Bank.
“Then Rs 9,552,453/ were spent on four trips of official delegation to hold talks with IMF which held in Washington DC and Dubai; In August 2010 delegation of ministry of finance officials visited Washington DC and spent 3,238,648/-, Rs 1,287,181/- were spent on another visit to Dubai held in May 2011 in Dubai, another amount of Rs 2,704,000/- was spent on a visit to Washington DC in February this year as well as an expenditure of Rs 2,322,624/- was incurred on the last visit of the higher officials of Finance Ministry to Dubai in May 2014” the documents disclosed.
It is pertinent to note here that the review meetings under IMF programs (Stand by arrangement and. Extended Fund Facility) are also compulsory since the government has to undergo quarterly reviews for release of instalments of the approved programme.