Islamabad [Pakistan], July 27 (ANI): Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in Pakistan on Monday unearthed the discrepancies in COVID-19 aid distribution in the country.
PAC Chairman Rana Tanvir said that the money allocated for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic was "misused", reported The Express Tribune.
As per Tanvir, the Pakistan government not only gave Rs 70 billion tax refunds but also provided a subsidy of Rs 150 billion to Panagahs, Rs 100 billion to the Power Division, Rs 50 billion to utility stores, among other things.
Throughout the meeting, the PAC chairman grilled the officials of the Finance Division after they failed to give sources of the Prime Minister's Covid stimulus package and struggled to satisfy PAC about the mechanism that was adopted to utilise the funds, reported The Express Tribune.
"Whatever you have given to the departments other than the health ministry and NDMA, a federal agency dealing with disaster management is like throwing the money into a nullah," the PAC chairman said, adding that it seems that different ministries took their share from Covid funds instead of them being utilised for purchasing vaccines.
Tanvir wondering over the misuse of the funds said, how the government could spend the money allocated for Covid-19 on utility stores and give subsidies on power and gas as well as on petrol and diesel from the funds. He reiterated that such things are managed from budgets and supplementary grants.
Throughout the meeting, the secretary of finance and additional secretary of finance were asked if the money came from the budget, donors, IMF, World Bank, or somewhere else. The finance ministry officials were clueless about the sources of funds and several other questions raised by PAC members, reported The Express Tribune.
The secretary of finance said that the details about sources of money could be shared the next time because the current presentation was prepared in line with PAC's letter which only sought details about funds.
The chair was flabbergasted by the reply, saying he used to ensure that all such things were mentioned in any presentation when he used to give such presentations in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
"We want everything before PAC," Tanvir said. "What is the purpose of discussing the issue without knowing the sources and if the money was spent in line with the donors' instructions or not".
Pakistan is reeling the rising number of coronavirus cases due to the Delta variant. There have also been reports of a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines due to a financial crunch. Amid such pandemic times, the news of misuse of funds for COVID-19 aid distribution is a shocker for its general populace. (ANI)