ISLAMABAD: The Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has directed four Ministries to surrender Rs 12 billion from their PSDP allocations for 7th Population and Housing Census, first-ever digital census, after Finance Division expressed its inability to extend funds for this purpose due to financial constraints, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.
On March 8, 2023, Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives (M/o PD&SI) informed the ECC that the Council of Common Interests (CCI)) in its 49th meeting held on January 13, 2022, approved the conduct of the 7th Population and Housing Census along-with recommendation of Census Advisory Committee to conduct the census digital with geo tagging of all structures for real-time monitoring of field operations.
The CCI also decided that “the process of next census should be completed in 18 months/ 540 days and results of the census should be furnished to the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for delimitation for the next General Election due to held in 2023.
Accordingly, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) started preparatory work to conduct first ever Digital Population and Housing Census.
In order to accomplish the national task within stipulated time period, PBS worked on Government to Government (G2G) model and acquired services from different partners, i.e., NADRA (126,000 tables, census ERP and field technical support), NTC (data infrastructure, storage and computing facilities), SUPARCO (latest High-Resolution Imaginary for complete coverage and Geo tagging), Armed Forces (for provision of security) and District Governments for provision of Enumerators and Supervisors for conduct of field operations.
In order to meet the financial requirements, Ministry of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives made a request to Finance Division for allocation of funds amounting to Rs.34 billion for conduct of 7th Population & Housing Census ( first ever digital census) out of which Rs.10 billion had already been released by Finance Division during the FY 2021 -22 & FY-2022-21.
The ECC was further informed that Finance Division had verbally communicated to Secretary, M/o PD&SI that at present Finance Division was not in a position to issue Technical Supplementary Grant STG/ SG amounting to Rs.24.00 billion and requested M/o PD&SI to surrender finds amounting to Rs.12.00 billion from PSDP projects in favour of Finance Division who will in turn issue TSG in favour of PBS.
It was highlighted that PBS was required to clear pending liabilities of NADRA, Armed Forces. District Administration, SUPARCO, NTC, census operational activities and payment to staff involved in census operations for services rendered.
Finance Division, in its Office Memorandum (OM) of January 24, 2023 agreed to move summary for TSG/SG.
It was apprised that Ministry of Planning Development & Special Initiatives had reviewed the PSDP 2022-23 and identified savings of Rs 12 billion under the development grants of the following Ministries/Divisions to provide as bridge financing for the recurring expenditure of PBS to be recouped during CFY by the Finance Division: (i) Ministry of Communication/ NHA Rs 6 billion;(ii) Ministry of PD&SI, Rs 2 billion; (iii) Ministry of Climate Change, Rs 2 billion and;(iv) Power Division, Rs 2 billion.
The new decision shall supersede the ECC’s earlier decision of ECC held on March 6, 2023.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023