ISLAMABAD: Finance Secretary Imdad Ullah Bosal on Monday assured the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) that the Finance Ministry would release all the required funds, within the next two days, for the general elections in the country that are scheduled on February 8, 2024.
He extended this assurance in a meeting with the senior officials of the ECP after been summoned by the poll body over non-issuance of the pending funds, on part of the Finance Ministry, for the general polls.
Speaking to the media at the ECP after the meeting, Bosal said that the Finance Ministry would ensure that the funds were issued in the next two days.
The finance secretary said the ECP wrote to the Finance Ministry on November 14 over the non-provision of funds and the related letter reached the ministry on November 18.
Following the commission’s directives, the Finance Ministry is taking measures to ensure the release of all the outstanding funds required for the general polls, he said.
“Funds issuance is a process that involves different stages and requires the related approvals from the authorities at the relevant forums. But this would be done at the earliest and the funds would be provided as per the ECP’s requirements,” the secretary said, in response to a query.
According to reports, 42 billion rupees have been allocated for general elections in the current federal budget 2023-24 but Finance Ministry, so far, has released only Rs 10 billion to the ECP.
On March 9, this year, the ECP, in a meeting, conveyed to the Finance Ministry officials that it needed a total of Rs 65 billion for holding the general polls in the country, out of which, only Rs 5 billion were provided.
In the said meeting, the Finance Ministry officials had informed the commission that it was difficult to provide the required funds to the poll body against the backdrop of the “challenging economic situation” the country was faced with.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023