PARC becomes ‘white elephant’?

Ministry of National Food Security and Research declines additional funds worth Rs1.32 billion for PARC

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ISLAMABAD: Almost 97 per cent of the budget of Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) is being spent on employee’s related expenses while a meager amount is being utilized for research, meanwhile, the Ministry of National Food Security and Research (MNFSR) has declined to approve allocation of supplementary grant of Rs1. 32 billion sought by PARC, said sources.

Documents available with Pakistan Today revealed that PARC had sought Rs1352.115 million additional funds/supplementary grant on account of employees related salaries, pension and arrears on account of increase in rental ceiling for the year 2018-19. However, MNFSR, after examining the matter at appropriate level, has so far refused to grant approval over the demand of additional funds and further raised serious concerns over utilization of funds by PARC and the performance of PARC too.

“Almost 97 per cent of PARC’s budget goes towards current employee related expenses and very meager for research. Therefore, PARC should discourage this tendency,” said a letter of MNFSR.

Responding to the request of PARC for additional funds, MNFSR sought explanation from PARC over its demand for the supplementary grant. The ministry has also asked for a forensic audit of PARC’s performance since adoption of its special pay scale (SPS scales). Furthermore, the directions of the then prime minister vide para 21 (iii) of the summary for the prime minister dated August 20, 2007 should have been adopted in letter and spirit so that maximum research activities would have been carried out with minimum expense, said MNFSR .

“At present it appears that PARC is doing all activities beneficial to the employees except research which is its prime function,” said the letter of MNFSR.

MNFSR in its letter also said that PARC has made it their right to demand a supplementary grant after regular budgetary approval. This demand most of the times remains more than one fourth of the actual budget, which needs proper justification.

It is, however, relevant to mention that MNFSR has asked PARC to re-submit the matter of additional funds after critical scrutiny of all financial implications and doing the needful.

When contacted by Pakistan Today, PARC Chairman Dr Yusuf Zafar said, present government has made the process of obtaining additional funds more lengthy than before. He said PARC is facing shortage of funds and we are struggling to secure more funds to run our business. He said due to inflation, employees are unable to meet expenses.

Over a question of performance raised by MNFSR, PARC chairman said, we are struggling to get more funds to complete the national agenda. He said since we have funds from US and Australia for various projects, so, we are unable to work on the national agenda.

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