- “Country’s economy is in bad shape,” says Finance Ministry.
- Govt demands ECP to defer grants in “wider national interest”.
- ECP had demanded Rs20bn supplementary grant, Rs14bn additional grant.
The Ministry of Finance Tuesday urged the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) to defer the demand for a supplementary grant of Rs20 billion and an additional grant of Rs14 billion, citing the country’s critical economic conditions.
The finance ministry responded to the ECP’s demand for a supplementary grant of Rs20 billion for the by-polls on 93 seats of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and the National Assembly and an additional grant of over Rs14 billion for the upcoming polls.
In the reply, the Ministry of Finance said that the country’s economy is in bad shape, and requested the ECP to postpone the demand for additional supplementary grants in the wider national interest.
“The demand for an additional supplementary grant should be deferred till the economic situation of the country improves,” the letter read.
The Election Commission had initially requested a grant worth Rs52 billion for election expenditures. However, the amount was reduced to Rs47 billion at the finance ministry’s request.
According to the Economic Coordination Committee’s (ECC) decision, the amount of Rs5 billion has been released, while the release of another installement of Rs10 billion is in process.
The Ministry of Finance has asked the ECP to provide details of expenses and foreign exchange requirements. “The Election Commission should provide details of items exempted from austerity measures,” said the finance ministry.
“The government is facing an unprecedented economic crisis and fiscal deficit. In such a situation, it has to provide funds for the flood-affected areas and conduct a census. In such a scenario, unplanned and unbudgeted expenses will lead to additional economic burdens. The country is currently under the IMF programme which has very strict terms,” it added.