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Balochistan sees weakest economic performance despite new Public Finance Management Act


ANI | Updated: Jun 03, 2021 15:44 IST

Khuzdar [Balochistan], June 3 (ANI): Balochistan witnessed the weakest economic performance among the four provinces of Pakistan, despite the new Public Finance Management Act that aims to strengthen expenditure tracking and check corrupt practices.
In 2020, the enactment of the Balochistan Public Finance Management Act 2020 in a province that is known for its bad governance, corrupt practices, and swindling development projects were a pleasant surprise for its critics, as per Khaleeq Nazar Kiani in The Frontier Post.
Though the said Act was a replica of the Public Finance Management Act of Pakistan 2019 with some modifications, but in line with Article 119 of the Constitution of Pakistan to regulate the Provincial consolidated fund and public account of the Province, it was a good step in the right direction.
Balochistan depends heavily on federal transfers. The limited resources are spent lavishly with a minimal rule-based system by the bureaucracy on the aspiration of the political bosses.
The Frontier Post reported that the Government machinery here generally resists reform for any transparent, accountable processes and procedures. Moving away from a discretionary to the answerable system is not acceptable to them, which will likely limit corruption and discourage rent-seeking.
After the 10th NFC award, a massive amount had been transferred to the provinces. For proper and just utilization of transferred amounts, there was a need for commitment to good governance, accountability, and transparency, which was not achieved.
There is a general impression that due to the lack of proper laws in the financial matter, a significant chunk of the public money goes waste on scammed development projects, reported TFP.
In many countries, good laws and procedures are in practice to prevent misallocation and for tracking the funds. There is a need to enforce stringent budgetary discipline in the management and accounting of funds.
The long preamble of the Public Finance Management Act ensures better macro-economic management, clarifying institutional responsibilities related to financial management, strengthening budgetary management. All ingredients to regulate the Provincial Consolidated Fund and Public Finance were incorporated in the Act. It starts from budget strategy paper for preparation and management of budget, development projects maintenance and use of public assets, control of the provincial consolidated fund and public account, Treasury management, special purpose funds, accounting and reporting, and end to regulate the public entities.
For the last ten months, the Act was not kept without any action, and the routine work was carried out with an old, weak mechanism.
Some bureaucrats smell the future repercussions for noncompliance and asked the political leadership that they cannot get their demands done unless Act is amended because any activist can file a constitutional petition on the violation of the Act.
Realizing the gravity of the situation, both bureaucracy and political boss reached to consensus for taking out the problematic tooth from the Act, and an amendment was passed. (ANI)

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