Editorial

PAC and govt departments

Written by The Frontier Post

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) met at Parliament House on Thursday and discussed the progress report of the audit paras referred to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) by the 15th PAC and its Sub-Committees during recent months. Director General Operations NAB briefed the committee about the progress of the audit paras referred to NAB by the PAC and its sub-committee. According to DG Operation NAB, the PAC had referred a total 307 audit paras to NAB, and it would complete the task soon. The committee observed that NAB should expedite work on PAC referred cases to ensure maximum recovery of stashed public money. The committee also discussed several paras regarding PIA’s misappropriation including financial loss due to launching of premier service flight operations and acquisition of iPads on rent which costed heavily on the national exchequer. The PIA Management informed the committee that 21 fake degree cases were in the court, adding that all reported employees were dismissed from their services.

PAC is a Parliamentary overseeing body which ensures the judicial use of national exchequer by the government and public institutions. The PAC is usually headed by the opposition leader in the National Assembly or any member from opposition benches. Currently, PAC is examining the audit paras of several government institutions including National Logistic Cell (NLC), Pakistan Railways and Pakistan International Airline (PIA) and referred most of the cases to NAB for further investigations into them. During the previous session, the Committee asked the NAB to account for its claim of recovering Rs. 400 billion from Politicians, bureaucrats, and businessmen, because Chairman NAB has been claiming of such recoveries during the past. However, NAB authorities have not submitted details of its announced recoveries after more than two months.

According to reports, lawmakers are worried about the gross misappropriation of Rs. 2338 million by the NLC in allocation of tenders for various constructional contracts and other purchases. The audit officials had told the PAC that NLC authorities are claiming exemption from audit by the auditor general of Pakistan while asserting that the department undertakes the work which is not normally done by the others. If NLC’s plea makes ground for exemption from audit then PAC should go on a trip to northern areas because each governmental body has bulk of fake advertisements to support their claim of exemption from audit including PIA, Railways, NLC, FIA, WAPDA, NAB and others.

In fact, the righteous oversighting job of the PAC got mired due to political rivalry between the government and the opposition because the government Ministers did not take the PAC’s criticism of their ministries/ departments religiously. Presently, masses are badly suffering from the policies of government institutions including WAPDA, SSGC, SNGPL and other service providers. These departments have introduced slab culture for billing their utilities and compelled the customers to pay more than they used the services. This billing policy is totally contrary to all business, social and human laws. Realistically, there are countless flaws in the working of the government institutions, which demands full cooperation of all stakeholders including ministries, concerned departments, regulator/auditor general of Pakistan, and overseeing bodies of the parliament in the larger interest of the public.

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