Parliament asked to review low utilisation: Education budget
ATTOCK, Sept 23: A civil society organisation has asked parliamentary
committees on education to take serious notice of massive underutilisation of
development budget by the Education Division.
In a statement, the Centre
for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) said in 2006-07, the Education
Division utilised only Rs2,193 million out of the total Rs6,560 million
allocations, meaning that only 33 per cent of the budget was
"This situation is highly unfortunate and completely
unacceptable; and the standing committees of the Senate and the National
Assembly have the responsibility to take up this issue on priority basis and in
an effective manner," it said.
In a welcome move, the Senate standing
committee on education had established a sub-committee to monitor the
utilisation of the education budget. However, the sub-committee would need to
exercise effective oversight and recommend timely measures in order to ensure
efficient utilisation of education budget in 2007-08.
The CPDI noted that
the first quarter of the financial year 2007-08 would come to an end on
September 30; and suggested that the following week would be the right time for
the Senate committee to seek a quarterly budget utilisation report from the
Past record shows that the utilisation rate is
generally very slow in the first quarter due to a range of inefficiencies on the
part of the ministries of finance and education.
Last year, the Education
Division had utilised only Rs106 million in the first quarter; while the total
annual development budget was Rs6,560 million.
The CPDI urged the
National Assembly standing committee on education to take up the matter, and
play its role in addressing this critical problem.
It may be noted that
the low utilisation of development budget at the disposal of Education Division
is attributed to a variety of factors, including the late release of finances,
delays in site selection and acquiring land, inter-departmental disputes,
unavailability of technical staff, delayed consultant reports and late issuance
of work orders.
It is a very disturbing fact that the Education Division
has been unable to get these problems fixed over the past several
While taking up the issue of underutilisation, the CPDI said, the
standing committees on education must ensure that their recommendations were
focused, realistic and well-considered, and finalised after following a
transparent and a participatory process. Dawn