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LAHORE: On the first day of the fiscal year (2021-22), the Punjab government on Thursday released Rs144.47 billion for the ongoing development schemes. This was revealed in a meeting of the Punjab finance department which was chaired by Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht held here on Thursday to review the progress of the action plan of the finance department for the implementation of the annual development programme 2021-22. Punjab Finance Secretary Iftikhar Ali Saho and Secretary Planning and Development Board Punjab Imran Sikandar were also present in the meeting.

The meeting was further informed that the release of massive development funds made at the start of the fiscal year is unprecedented in the history of the province; this reflects the government's commitment to the timely completion of development projects and to keep the economic growth in the country at a steady pace. It observed that since entire funds are released for the ongoing development schemes, it is expected that all such schemes will be completed without any further delay.

Further, the meeting was also informed that the ongoing schemes for the financial year 2021-22 include 2274 schemes in the services, infrastructure, social and productive sectors with an allocation of Rs144.47b. After the provision of the funds, the communication and works department, and other concerned agencies will ensure work on the ongoing schemes without any delay. Also, an effective monitoring mechanism is being set up under the planning and development department, which will provide continuous monitoring services for the timely completion of significant government initiatives and major projects.

While addressing the meeting, the minister asked the relevant officials to ensure the quality and pace of development work and added that the services of the directorate general of monitoring and evaluation will be sought to check the transparency and impartiality of the quality of the projects. "The agency will ensure third-party audits in addition to its supervisory teams," he added.

On the occasion, the Punjab Finance Secretary stressed the need to provide necessary human resources for the immediate rehabilitation of Special Policy Units in all major departments and he assured the Minister of all possible cooperation from the finance department for timely completion of development schemes.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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