ISLAMABAD: The government is to allocate additional funds of Rs 8.4 billion for Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to meet shortfall in Missions abroad and headquarters, official sources told Business Recorder.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs was provided Rs 27.341 billion in its budget for FY 2022-23 against demand of Rs 35.863 billion, resulting in a shortfall of Rs 8.522 billion at the initial stage.
Apart from Foreign Affairs Division including Main Secretariat (HQ, CAO, State Guest House Lahore & Karachi), SECDIV, IRS, ISSI, and FSA, this allocation includes budgets for 122 Diplomatic Missions, 53 OM Wings, 11 Group-A formations and four establishments of Chief Accounts Office (CAO). Approximately 91 per cent of the budget is spent on Missions abroad in US dollars and other major international currencies.
The budget estimates were based on an exchange rate of 1 US $ = Rs 186. However, primarily due to depreciation of the Pak Rupee versus US Dollar during the current financial year, the Ministry has been facing a severe shortfall of funds.
The Ministry requested the Prime Minister’s office on November 16, 2022 for additional funds to the tune of Rs 13.982 billion to meet the shortfall. After discussion with Finance Division and keeping in view the austerity measures, the request was further rationalized to Rs 10.7 billion to meet the shortfall at Pakistan Missions abroad under demand No.49 and Rs 536 million to meet the shortfall at Main Secretariat and allied departments under demand No.48.
Finance Division, in UO of May 3, 2023, has; however conveyed its concurrence only to the amount of Rs. 8.4 billion under demand No. 49-Foreign Missions, to meet the shortfall due to devaluation of the Pak Rupee.
According to MOFA, it also needs Rs 536 million under demand No. 48 - Foreign Affairs Division to cater to a shortfall of funds at Main Headquarters mainly on account of shortfall in employee-related expenses including revision of Pay Scales, upgradation and time scale promotion staff, grant of disparity reduction allowance/ executive allowance, and increase in price of fuel and utilities.
Foregoing in view, MOFA sought ECC approval for provision of additional funds amounting to Rs 8.936 billion (under demands number 48 and 49) to Ministry of Foreign Affairs through Technical Supplementary Grant in current Financial Year 2022-23. Of this, Rs 8.4 billion under demand no. 49 would be utilized to meet shortfall at Missions abroad and Rs 536 million under demand no. 48 would be utilized to meet the shortfall at the Headquarters.
The Ministry would make best efforts through strict financial discipline to manage within this amount.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023