Federal cabinet given discretionary powers to approve supplementary budgets

Finance Ministry has published an office memorandum to every ministry and division instructing them to seek go-ahead of the cabinet in all cases of technical supplementary and supplementary grants

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ISLAMABAD: To tighten fiscal control, the federal cabinet has been empowered with approving the supplementary budgets to close flaws which were previously abused by politicians and bureaucrats for the quirky spending of taxpayer’s money.

This decision of the Finance Minister Asad Umar to hand back discretionary powers to the federal cabinet for approving the grant of money during a financial year would be in full conformity with the historic judgement of the apex court, reports Express Tribune.

During the previous PML-N administration’s tenure, the government had allowed Rs860 billion worth of supplementary grants in its last year in power.

The decision to hand back power to the federal cabinet for approving supplementary grants will ensure better budget planning since the government has banned the transfer of money from one sanctioned budget head to another of a ministry without the go-ahead of the cabinet.

In this regard, the Finance Ministry has published an office memorandum to every ministry and division instructing them to seek go-ahead of the cabinet in all cases of technical supplementary and supplementary grants.

Also, any requests received directly without a summary of the cabinet will not be considered by the Finance Division and only those appeals for supplementary budgets will be considered that have the approval of the federal cabinet.

During the last financial year 2017-18, the previous PML-N administration had spent over Rs860 billion above the budget ceiling approved by parliament.

In FY18, Rs310 billion worth of supplementary grants had been authorized. Supplementary grants have been used to pay off circular debt, acquire luxury vehicles for the prime minister and his aides, provide subsidies to influential people and grants to parliamentarians and bailout packages to the state-owned Pakistan International Airlines (PIA).

Also, the PTI government on Tuesday had approved Rs63.5 billion subsidy for export-oriented sectors in spite of no money being available in the budget for the current financial year.

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