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Misdirected Spendings

Misdirected spendings and sub-optimal utilisation of the scarce financial resources in most of the developing countries lead to a situation where very little is left for the development of social sector, including education. Instances of misdirected spendings abound. Take, for instance, some recent projects involving huge amounts in Pakistan. The government of Nawaz Sharif (1990-93) allocated amounts equivalent to a year’s development programme expenditures only for building a motorway from Islamabad to Lahore and by the introduction of “yellow cab” scheme. The Benazir government while following suit introduced “awami tractor” scheme. Further, the tractors are being imported from Eastern Europe known for having obsolete technology. Similarly, this government has also given approval for building the other part of the “motorway”, i.e. from Islamabad to Peshawar. The financial crunch due to corruption and malpractice is yet another dimension of the issue.

The shortage of financial resources is thus not a genuine excuse for giving lesser attention to the social sector development, neither in Pakistan nor in the world. A mere freezing, for example, of defence expenditure at 1990 level and some aid reallocation can release some $ 100 billion. This amount is sufficient for universal literacy, primary health and sanitation [UNDP (1994)]. This amount can be enhanced further by eliminating leakages and corruption as well as effecting financial discipline.


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Source: Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan: Present Scenario and Future Strategy, Mohibul Haq Sahibzada. Republished with permission.