ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Finance has released paltry amount of Rs 2.3 billion to the Higher Education Commission (HEC) out of remaining Rs 16.3 billion allocated for the current fiscal year.

With one-and-a-half month of the current fiscal year left and the government is going to announce the budget of the new fiscal year next month, Rs 16.3 billion including development and non-development was pending with the Finance Division out of which Rs 2.3 billion have been released. Still Rs 14 billion are to be released by the Finance Division.

According to information, HEC had received Rs 24.3 billion out of Rs 31.5 billion allocated in the budget 2011-12 for recurring budget while remaining 23 percent of the amount has yet to be released by the Ministry of Finance. The government had allocated Rs 14 billion as development budget and Rs 31.5 billion as recurring budget in fiscal year 2011-12.

HEC was allocated Rs 14 billion as development budget for the current fiscal while for the last quarter the Commission had to receive Rs 4.3 billion with additional funding of Rs 2.5 billion as development budget but despite the fact that the management of the Commission has sent reminder to the Ministry of Finance numerous times for the release of the allocated amount, the later has not released even a single rupee in this regard during this fourth and last quarter of 2011-12.

“The Vice-Chancellors of the public sector universities have shown their serious concerns that as the Ministry of Finance still had to release Rs 7.2 billion as a part of recurring budget then HEC to pay 50 percent as well as 15 percent salary increase announced by the government in the budget 2011-12,” informed an official. Arrears of the university employees are pending since July 1, 2011 that the Finance Division has committed to release while the employees of other ministries have been getting the 50 percent raise in their salaries.

He added that under the agreement ‘Tertiary Education Support Project (TESP)’, the World Bank had to release $ 300 million to the Commission and the Bank is having meetings with the both, HEC and the Ministry of Finance, for the last one-week in this regard.