LAHORE - The Finance department has proposed the government to establish a separate wing of Budget, Accounts and Audit (BAA) in the Services and General Administration Department.

Sources in the department told The Nation that an independent wing in the administrative department will be established by the Board of Revenue (BoR) to handle the field formulations of Collectors, Deputy Collectors and Assistant Collectors etc.

Accordingly, on the request of S&GAD, the department has three separate controlling levels, DDO Codes, for Commissioners, deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Assistant Commissioners (ACs). Funds have already been placed at the disposal of S&GAD for Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners for incurring expenditure at spending levels DDO Codes, the sources added.

There was also a proposal that all the funds be given to the Deputy Commissioner who would supervise distribution among the AC offices concerned. However, the department rejected this proposal saying it was not possible under the rules.

It was then suggested by the department that money be transferred to the S&GAD in three folders separately for the commissioners, DCs and ACs. The S&GAD will distribute the funds to the required quarters and to do this hefty exercise, a new wing will be established.

Account-lV at the district level has already ceased to exist for payment of salaries and operational expenditures of the said administrative offices.

Earlier, according to a deputy commissioner, the BOR used to pay the Commissioner, DC and AC offices which were not enough to meet their day to day expenses. Now, the Punjab Assembly has adopted a new legislation -Civil Administration Act - that restored the administrative offices.

“It is the responsibility of the S&GAD to maintain the offices of the Commissioners, DCs and the ACs when they act as administrative officers,” the DC said, adding that many of the allowances they (as DCOs) used to draw were cut by the Punjab government.

Talking about another reason behind creation of the new wing, the officer said that the Public Accounts Committee-Il (PAC-Il) had also taken critical review of the weak financial control of the departments over organisations and directed all administrative departments, field formations, autonomous bodies, companies and boards to establish separate independent Internal Audit Wings (IAWs) at their offices. The purpose of the wing was said to have an oversight on the public expenditures and increase credibility and transparency in the accounts.

A Provincial Transition Team was constituted by the chief secretary, under the supervision of additional chief secretary, for finalising the new District Administration Setup. Moreover, this committee and its sub-committees were empowered to finalise the organisational chart for the Local Governments, monitoring progress, and implementation of the interim Finance Commission Award.

Moreover, the same teams were to report the progress of consequential amendments in wake of repeal of PLGO 2001. Now after the Account-IV ceased to exist, new changes in the system were required to deal with the administrative and financial matters of the newly established offices under civil administration legislation.

In addition, sources said, the proposal to establish a separate wing to deal with BAA matters of S&GAD was floated. An additional secretary (Budget, Audit & Account) to deal with all these matters may be assigned to newly proposed Wing instead of Welfare Wing, S&GAD. Besides the AS, two deputy secretaries are also proposed, the sources said while talking about the organogram of the new wing.

Moreover, four Section officers (SOs) under DS (Budget) and three SOs under DS Audit may also be created by the finance department.