ISLAMABAD: Intelligence Bureau (IB) has sought additional funds of Rs1 billion to meet shortfall in the budget allocated for current financial year 2021-22.
Sharing the details, sources said, in this regard, a case of supplementary grant of Rs2.089 billion has been forwarded to Prime Minister Office through Finance Division which agreed to grant additional funds of Rs1.000 billion, of this Rs0.595 billion are related to Employees Related Expenses (ERE) and Rs0.405 billion for non-ERE.
Finance Division approved Indicative Budget Ceiling of Rs7.334 billion for 2021-22 against the budget estimates of Rs11.360 billion. Therefore, a summary was placed before the Prime Minister for provision of required IBC for 2021-22. The Prime Minister directed IB to take-up the matter with Finance Division. In response, Finance Division had approved additional budget allocation of only Rs700 million for the current financial year 2021-22. Hence, total budget of IB for the current financial year 2021-22 comes to Rs8.034 billion. The Bureau keeps about 72 percent of its budget allocation under the head ‘ERE’ and only 28 percent under the head “contingency”, including operational expenditure to run its day to day affairs.
In view of the existing situation, IB is facing shortfall in the budget under the following heads during the current financial year 2021-22, details are as follows:
(i) Employees Related Expenses: only (ERE) requirement of IB comes to Rs7.094 billion whereas the total budget allocation is Rs5.824 billion which clearly indicates the shortfall IB is facing. Present allocation is sufficient only for Rs9 month’s salary of IB staff and there will be shortfall of Rs1.270 billion.
According to IB, in the light of judgement of Supreme Court of Pakistan, of August 17, 2020, 800 reinstated employees were relieved from the same date. Hence, payment of salaries of 800 relieved reinstated employees was stopped from August 17, 2021. Therefore, its effect is not included/ shown in the reconciled expenditure of IB for the month of December. The apex court in a review petition restored these employees in its judgment of December 17, 2021. Accordingly, payment of salaries to these employees is required to be made from December 17, 2021 for which financial effect of Rs875 million has been included in the shortfall of Rs1.270 billion.
(ii) Assistance package for the families of government employees who die in service. Budget allocation of Rs80 million was kept reserved under the said head for the current financial year 2021-2022. Expenditure of Rs32 million has been incurred so far for payment of lump sum grant education/marriage grant, etc. while cases of 48 million are in the pipeline whereas cases of Rs107 million are for payment in lieu of plot which are pending. Therefore, funds of Rs107 million are required in the shape of supplementary grant under the said head.
(iii) Rent for Residential Buildings: funds of Rs410 million have been allocated under this head. However, Ministry of Housing & Works has notified 44 percent enhancement in rental ceiling for hiring of residential accommodation from July 1, 2021 – 44 percent enhancement effect comes to Rs180 million which could not be met from the said allocation, hence, funds of Rs180 million are required in the shape of supplementary grant under the said head for payment to continue hiring cases on the rates/ceilings approved by the government. Out of the working strength of IB (7918 officers’ officials), only 2,023 employees (posted at six specified stations) have been allowed hiring facility. Till date, 784 applications of fresh hiring are lying pending for which Rs180 million are also required. However, it is proposed that funds of Rs100 million may also be provided in the shape of supplementary grant for fresh hiring, so that hiring facility could be extended to deserving cases.
(iv) Employees’ retirement benefits: budget of IB was maintained in one-line under the head “A03970-Others” and expenditure under the heads Reimbursement of Medical Charges to Pensioners & Superannuation Encashment on L.P.R were maintained under the head ERE. However, the current financial year budget of IB is bifurcated in two lines i.e. ERE & Non-ERE. As per directions of AGPR expenditure under the said head is being incurred/booked under the head Non-ERE. So far, expenditure of Rs31 million has been incurred, and Rs34 million is expected till June, 2022. It is an unbudgeted expenditure as no funds were allocated under the said head. IB argues that the expenditure would be booked under A01 but instead AGPR has booked it under A03. These funds primarily pertain to ERE and IB would have demanded the same under ERE but due to booking requirements the same has to be demanded under contingency to offset the excess expenditure of Rs65 million. Therefore, funds of Rs65 million are required in shape of supplementary grant.
(v) Payment to NTS for Recruitment against 1,660 posts: recruitment process for appointment of 1,660 posts was completed and the officials have joined their duties. An amount of Rs63.034 million is required to be paid to National Testing Service as fee to testing agency in the light of Establishment Division’s OM of August 8, 2017. In this regard, a summary was approved by the Prime Minister with direction that Intelligence Bureau may approach the Finance Division with regard to provision of funds. Some clarifications with regard to payment of Rs63.034 million as 50 percent fee to National Testing Service are required from different departments. Hence, IB has postponed the payment during the last financial year 2020-21. Now, NTS has agreed to payment of Rs53 million instead of Rs63million, therefore, funds of Rs53 million are required in the shape of supplementary grant.
(vi) Payment to Armed Police Guard: due to shortage of funds, following payments with regard to Armed Police Guard are pending and required to be made because they are pressing hard for early payment. In this connection, funds of Rs314 million are required.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022