The government on Friday approved grants totalling more than Rs16 billion for discretionary spending on the road and electricity projects suggested by its coalition partners despite the country’s growing political clamour.
The Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) approved supplemental grants of Rs. 8 billion for the Ministry of Housing and Works and Rs8.1 billion for the Power Division by withdrawing funds that had been stored in the Cabinet Division’s pool for the same purpose.
According to local media reports, the cabinet body additionally approved an exorbitant award of Rs300 million for VVIPs’ additional international travel expenses.
The ECC, chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar accepted a $26.2 million debt rescheduling agreement with Japan as part of the Covid-19 debt rescheduling initiative by G20 nations.
The cabinet committee approved the supplemental grants in light of the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) increased scrutiny of the government’s expenses due to worries about fiscal prudence.
The PDM coalition administration upped the discretionary budget for the development programs of lawmakers to a record Rs87 billion to spend an average of Rs500 million in each of the 174 National Assembly districts that supported Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
The funds are being used to pay for small electricity, gas, community welfare, and road projects under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.
According to the finance ministry, the ECC granted Rs8.1 billion for the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) to carry out development projects in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa under the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP).
Punjab lawmakers would receive Rs3.6 billion, Sindh lawmakers Rs5.6 billion, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa MNAs Rs1.1 billion, and Balochistan parliamentarians Rs6.6 billion.