Pakistan gave in to the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) pressure by releasing the audit report of expenditures incurred on Covid-19, disclosing over Rs40 billion irregularities in operations, reports Shahbaz Rana for The Express Tribune.

“The release of the report by the Ministry of Finance is one of the five prior actions that the IMF has asked Pakistan to implement if it wants to get the $1 billion loan tranche by January next year.”

“The finance ministry issued Rs314 billion less supplementary grants from the prime minister’s (PM) stimulus package due to which citizens of Pakistan could not avail the complete benefit of the announced package resulting in suffering, economic hardship, and many private factories laying off their workers during Covid-19 process,” revealed the report.

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“Against Rs200 billion promised to daily wagers, only Rs16 billion were distributed among them. The vulnerable families were promised Rs150 billion but given Rs145 billion.”

Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP)

“The maximum irregularities of over Rs25 billion were found against Rs133 billion spent under the banner of the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), which was equal to 19 per cent of its spending.”

The BISP utilised Rs133.3 billion during the fiscal year 2019-20 and 13.1 million beneficiaries were paid.

The audit observed Rs6.6 billion payments to relatively better-off 484,402 beneficiaries due to the absence of any clear policy which needs to be addressed before making any related future payments.

“Over Rs16 million payments of Covid-19 cash transfers were made to those beneficiaries who had filers’ status and were well-off. There was also a case of withdrawal of Covid-19 cash grants from both BISP and Zakat by the same beneficiaries worth Rs318.7 million.”

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

“The National Disaster Management Authority’s spending was Rs22.8 billion and the auditors raised a red flag on Rs4.8 billion or around 21 per cent of the spending.”

“The auditors found mis-procurement on account of the installation of Resource Management System (RMS) by the NDMA with Rs42.5 million cost. A million-dollar loss was caused to the public exchequer on account of the purchase of ventilators at higher rates and China donated $4 million for the construction of 250 beds Isolation Hospital and Infections Treatment Centre (IHITC), but the money was never used. There were cases of overpayment to Chinese firms on account of the procurement of ventilators.”

“The NDMA did not impose liquidated damages on supplier firms causing a loss of Rs2.7 billion and $8.3 million.”

Utility Store

“The AGP pointed out Rs1.4 billion loss due to irregular and ill-planned procurement of sugar. Another loss of Rs1.6 billion was caused due to irregular procurement of ghee/cooking oil and non-availability of fitness certificates of ghee/oils worth over Rs1.4 billion.”

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“The Rs323 million loss was caused due to non-observance of prescribed flour specifications and another expense of Rs1.7 billion incurred without laboratory test reports. The USC also made excess claim subsidies by increasing the profit ratio on account of the purchase of sugar.”

Defence

“The Rs200 million Covid-19 funds were diverted towards the clearance of liabilities and procurement of normal cardiac medicines. During an audit of Combined Military Hospital Rawalpindi, it was observed from the record that PPE items of the same specifications were purchased at higher rates by ignoring the lowest rates available in the comparative statement of tenders.”

“The Rs235 million irregular payment was made to Pakistan International Airlines without fulfilling the required formalities against shipment of exactly the same commodity required to be transported through the armed forces’ service aircraft.”

Other departments

“The audit observed that the procurements of nine items had been made at higher rates causing a loss of Rs7 million. There were also cases of non-delivery of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by UNICEF having the value of Rs1.3 billion. The Rs10 million discrepancy was found in cases of transportation and food items for passengers returning from abroad, handled by deputy commissioner Islamabad.”