December 17, 2019: The Ministry of Finance has described as “misleading” and “incorrect” news reports appearing recently in a section of the press claiming that the “provinces forego uplift plans and return Rs.202 billion to Centre”.
In an official statement, the Finance Division has stated that as per the factual position, neither the provincial surplus is Rs.202 billion nor the surplus amount has been transferred/ returned to the federal government. The actual provincial surplus for the period July-September, 2019 is Rs.190 billion.
The Finance Division has further stated that according to standard procedure federal transfers are made to the provincial governments as per NFC formula and are transferred from Federal Government Account to the respective Provincial Government Account maintained with State Bank of Pakistan. The amount so transferred remains available to the respective Provincial Government all the time in their separate accounts with State Bank of Pakistan.
The statement further clarified that the Ministry Finance compiles and consolidates fiscal operations of State of Pakistan (Federal Government and all the four provincial governments) on a quarterly basis. The cash balance position of the Federal Government and provinces is shown in a consolidated manner.
The consolidated cash surplus position helps in driving the fiscal policy of the Government. Federal Government has neither a role in provincial expenditure planning nor its spending. Provincial surplus for the same period of last financial year was Rs.199 billion.
The Finance Division has further maintained that it is incorrect to say that the provincial government has provided the surpluses at the cost of development activities. In fact, the development spending during the first four months witnessed a growth of 27% compared to the same period of last financial year.
The development spending of the four provinces (combined) during the first four months is Rs.112 billion compared to Rs.88 billion spent during the same period of last financial year.