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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Finance on Thursday unveiled the strategy for the release of funds for the recurrent budget for the financial year 2023-24.

According to the Ministry of Finance’s notification, the funds for the recurrent budget of the Divisions/Attached Departments/Sub-ordinate and other offices i.e. Autonomous Bodies, Authorities, Commissions etc shall be released for the current fiscal year by the Finance Division for demands for grants/appropriations at 20 percent for quarter 1, 25 percent for quarter 2 and Quarter 3 each, and 30 percent for quarter 4.

The notification stated that the Employees Related Expenses (ERE) and pension payments at 25 percent for each quarter. Non-ERE Expenditure at 15 percent for quarter 1, 25 percent for quarter 2 and quarter 3 each, and 35 percent for quarter 4.

For Rent of Office and Residential Buildings, commuted value of pension, Encashment of LPR and PM Assistance Packages at 45 percent during 1sthalf of 2023-24 and 55 percent in 2nd half of 2023-24. Subsidies, grants and lending shall be released by the Finance Division to the PAOs on a case-to-case basis. Cases relating to international and domestic contractual and obligatory payments beyond the above-prescribed limits shall be considered on a case-to-case basis by Budget Wing, Finance Division and shall require prior approval of the finance secretary.

The PAO or Head of Department or Head of Sub-ordinate Office shall not make any re-appropriation of allocated funds from ERE to any other head of account (non-ERE) except with the prior concurrence of the Finance Division through the Expenditure Wing.

The PAOs have been provided additional funds to meet the funding requirements of the Adhoc Relief Allowance 2023 announced in the budget for 2023-24, under a separate Cost Centre in each Demand for Grants. The PAOs are, advised to re-appropriate these funds, in consultation with Expenditure Wing, Finance Division, only for the purpose of Adhoc Relief Allowance 2023, to Cost Centres of divisions/attached departments/subordinate offices within respective demands for grants no later than 31stAugust 2023.

Subsidies: The PAOs concerned shall prepare quarterly funds requirement plans within the allocated budget for 2023-24 and shall share with relevant wings of the Finance Division before the start of each quarter.

The Finance Division will review the quarterly requirement plan for subsidies and will convey its views and comments to the PAO concerned within two weeks. While firming up its views and comments Finance Division shall consider, inter-alia, fiscal space as well as cash balances availability. Release of funds by the PAO for subsidies shall be made in accordance with the funds’ requirement plans, as modified in light of the Finance Division’s comments. The sanction for expenditure will be issued by PAO concerned and a copy will be sent to Budget Wing, Finance Division for entry into the SAP System.

Grants-in-Aid: The PAO or head of the attached department or head of the subordinate office shall ensure that the annual budget of the organisations/autonomous bodies/authorities/commissions/funds/boards which are established, managed and controlled by the federal government shall be approved by the competent authority under respective statutes, rules and regulations.

A certificate to the effect of such approval shall be submitted to Budget Wing, Finance Division. The details of such approved budgets shall also be shared with the Finance Division (Expenditure wing). Organizations/entities shall provide detailed budget information i.e. on detailed object classification, along with details of their own receipts.

PAOs shall ensure that such certificates as well as approved budgets in respect of CFY reach Finance Division by 31th August 2023 PAOs shall not approach Finance Division for meeting any expenses of public entities/organizations/authorities and bodies, which are provided grant in aid, by ensuring proper distribution and adequate allocation of funds to such public entities/organizations/authorities and bodies out of the total funds placed at their disposal during CFY.

Sanction of expenditure for grants by the PAOs shall be made with the prior concurrence of the Expenditure Wing of the Finance Division. The cases of grants reflected in the Finance Division's Demand for Grant will be processed by the relevant wings of the Finance Division.

The allocation and disbursement of funds to the public and private authorities/ institutions/bodies/associations/foundations and others are required to be regulated and linked to outputs' outcomes and performance of the entities' grants-in-aid should be non-recurring in nature and funds shall be disbursed only to meet any justified shortfall for a limited period of time.

Lending: Budgetary funds on account of loans and advances and investments to provincial governments, public sector entities and others shall be provided with the condition that all due re-payments to the federal government on these accounts have been made as per schedules/maturities. lf all due re-payment have not been made at source deductions shall be ensured by provincial finance and corporate finance wings.

Foreign Exchange Payments: Adequate budgetary allocations on account of Foreign Exchange Component (Rupee Cover) shall be ensured by all relevant PAOs and conveyed to the Economic Affairs Division and Finance Division. Funds for foreign exchange payments shall require prior approval of the External Finance Wing of the Finance Division. While examining requests for such funds, the External Finance Wing shall consider the availability of foreign exchange.

Commitment Control: The Finance Division has issued Commitment Control Guidelines on 4th March2022. Annual and multi-annual commitments for procurement of goods, services and civil works by all PAOs and accounting organizations and offices shall be recorded through SAP System.

Austerity Measures: Austerity measures issued by Expenditure Wing, Finance Division vide letter No1/1/2016-Exp-lv dated 27 -02-2023, shall be fully adhered to until and otherwise specified by the competent authority by all principal accounting officers, heads of attached departments, heads of subordinate offices and autonomous bodies and all accounting organizations and offices.

General Guidelines and lnstructions: Section 23 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2019 provides that no authority shall incur or commit any expenditure from the "Federal Consolidated Fund" until the same has been sanctioned by the National Assembly and the expenditure has been provided for the financial year through: a) Schedule of authorized expenditure in terms of Article 83 of the Constitution of Pakistan, b) Supplementary grant or technical supplementary grant as Article 84 of the Constitution duly approved by the Federal Government; or c) Re-appropriation as per section 2 (u) and 11 of the Public Finance Management Act, 2019.

All payments shall be made through the pre-audit system by the Accounting Organizations and Offices or through the Assignment Account procedure or any other procedure issued by the Finance Division. No direct payment through the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) shall be made by any office except with the prior approval of the Finance Secretary as per Rules 3(2) and 3(3) of the Cash Management and Treasury Single Account Rules, 2020.

Approved Direct Payments shall be booked and recorded by the Accounting organizations and offices and Federal treasury offices immediately after receipt of intimation from the SBP.

The special purpose funds or any other fund established, managed or controlled by the ministries, divisions, departments and organizations of the federal government shall be regulated in accordance with section 32 of the PFM Act, 2019 read with the Cash Management and Treasury Single Account Rules, 2020.

Quarter-wise budget allocation and release will be uploaded on the MoF and AGPR Servers by the Finance Division within above stated release limits. No payment shall be made over and above the limits by any accounting organization/office except with the prior approval of the Finance Division.

The strategy for the release of funds with regard to the PSDP, interest payment, repayments of domestic and foreign loans and supplementary grants for CFY shall be issued by Finance Division separately.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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