Tawana Pakistan Project referred to NAB for investigation

ISLAMABAD – A sub-committee of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday referred a case regarding Tawana Pakistan Project to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for further probe.

Audit account of Capital Administration and Development Division (devolved Ministry of Social Welfare and Special Education) for year 2003-04 was examined by a sub-committee of PAC under convener Syed Naveed Qamar. The audit observed that the ministry could not develop any mechanism to monitor the progress of Tawana Pakistan Project. As a result its PC-I has been changed without competent approval and the project is being implemented according to un-approved PC-I. The project management changed the approved implementation mechanism.

It was envisaged that there would be a joint federal implementation unit (NIT) of Ministry and Pakistan Baitul Maal (PBM) to provide overall policy guidance, coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the project. However, it was observed that the NIU at its own created a Tawana Pakistan Project (TPP) Cell in PBM and transferred some of its responsibilities to TPP Cell to which the ministry did not raise any objection. Nothing was found in black and white to substantiate that the ministry is actively involved in execution of the project. Everything was left to the project management.

It transpired from monitoring reports of PBM and NIU that there was lack of coordination between PBM and NIU but there was no system in place to rectify the problems coming to light. There have been reports of corruption at grassroots level despite reporting of these incidents to the District Nutrition Committees headed by district nazims. No action has been taken. Similarly feeding in some schools have been stopped but no problem solving mechanism exists. It was planned to feed the enrolled and un-enrolled girls in the ratio of 40:60. However, it transpired that this ratio has not been maintained and un-enrolled girls are being fed at a lesser ratio.

Moreover, the un-enrolled girls have become a conduit for leakage of funds. There is no mechanism to prove that how many un-enrolled girls were fed on any particular date. Age parameters for un-enrolled girls have also been ignored. It was reported in a monitoring report that a girl child of six months had been registered as an un-enrolled beneficiary in Lodhran District of Punjab. Similarly, in Layyah District two sixteen-year-old girls were found registered as un-enrolled girls as against the prescribed age limit of 5-12 years.

Menus were approved for various districts according to availability of food items and keeping in view the environment of the area. It was recommended that food provided to girls should contain at least 600-900 calories but it was reported by monitoring officers that in most of the districts food did not contain desired amount of calories. Furthermore, no mechanism exists to check the quality of food being provided to girls. In most of the districts, training was imparted to school teachers and community organizers but still School Tawana Committee need on the job training in the areas of menu planning, use of de-worming medicine and micronutrient supplements, record keeping, preparation of accounts and preparing funds demand.

Social Mobilisers were to be appointed and trained to implement and monitor the project. Social mobilisers have been appointed but at least 20 were not trained up to September 2003. NIU has no authority to push pace of work of other organizations involved in the project. An amount of Rs 175 million has been spent but detailed accounts are not available. It has been observed that in most of the schools food is being cooked within premises of the schools. Cooking of food for a large number of students is time consuming activity which can also affect the academic and educational environment.

There is no mechanism to protect the educational environment from cooking activities within the school. This problem can be severe in schools where number of school teachers is small like one or two teachers. Monitoring and evaluation was being carried out by M&E Wing of NIU and by TPP Cell of PBM. Agha Khan University was allocated a sum of Rs125.26 for monitoring and evaluation but its reports were not available on record.

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