In a major embarrassment for the Shehbaz Sharif-led Pakistani government, a recent inquiry has revealed financial discrepancies in the allocation of and expenditure on medical resources in the Corona Relief Fund (CRF). An inquiry carried out by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa office of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) revealed that of the PKR 4 billion donated to the CRF, around PKR 2 billion worth of financial irregularities were spotted during the audit process. The inquiry found that funds designated for the CRF were improperly used from the exchequer for PCR and Rapid Antigen Testing (RAT) services and expensive oxygen tanks and cardiac monitors were purchased during the relief phase. Moreover, payments made to district-level Rapid Response Teams, healthcare professionals and drivers of the Rapid Response Teams were also found to be unapproved. Amid looming fears of a default, International Monetary Fund (IMF) said cash-strapped Pakistan must take steps to ensure that its high earners pay taxes and only the poor get the subsidies if it wants to function as a country.
Today: December 11, 2023