Federal govt redirects Rs10bn from provincial projects to digital security initiative

This reallocation aims to ensure the initiative's timely and effective implementation in the face of evolving cyber threats

The federal government has resolved to reallocate Rs10 billion originally earmarked for provincial projects to bolster the Digital Information Infrastructure Initiative.

This decision emerges amidst the Planning Commission’s reservations against transferring development funds to cover non-development expenditures.

This reallocation aims to ensure the initiative’s timely and effective implementation in the face of evolving cyber threats.

During a session of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), the Planning Commission highlighted the National Economic Council’s (NEC) June 6, 2023, mandate, which discourages the diversion of development funds within the current fiscal year.

The Commission advocated that the requested Rs10 billion, categorized as recurring expenses, should instead be sourced through a technical supplementary grant from the current budget by the Finance Division.

It warned that such a move would shrink the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2023-24’s scope, negatively impacting public investment.

Contrarily, the Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication outlined the critical nature of Pakistan’s ICT infrastructure, which is vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

The Digital Information Infrastructure Initiative aims to enhance the nation’s capacity to preemptively detect and counteract cyber threats, safeguarding essential information assets.

Following the Prime Minister’s Office directives, extensive consultations were held to establish implementation strategies, designating the IT ministry as the coordinating body, with the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) and relevant law enforcement agencies (LEAs) as operational entities.

Given the project’s sensitive nature, LEAs are also tasked with procurement responsibilities.

Previous funding efforts saw the ECC approving Rs5 billion in bridge financing from the Research and Development (R&D) Fund in November 2023, a decision later endorsed by the federal cabinet. These funds have been utilized for advance payments related to the initiative.

With a looming first installment payment deadline of February 15, 2024, the ECC has now approved the reallocation of Rs10 billion from the FY24 provincial project allocations to the Digital Information Infrastructure Initiative, adhering to the Ministry of Planning and Development’s recommendation for a technical supplementary grant.


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