ISLAMABAD:01 July: Even on the last day of 2011-12 the Higher Education Commission (HEC) could not get over Rs9 billion, receivable under its Rs48 billion budget, landing it in financial straits.
The commission has already stopped payments to 10,000 students studying in the country and abroad on different scholarships and salaries to more than 2,000 contract employees.
Now the burden will be carried over to 2012-13 for which the allocation for the HEC has already been made 18 per cent less than what it had demanded (Rs58 billion), due to which the cash-starved HEC will not be able to complete 150 ongoing projects, Dawn has learnt.
According to sources, Minister for Professional and Technical Training Sheikh Waqas Akram met Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Friday and informed him about the issues of the HEC. He also informed him that Rs11 billion (Rs6.5bn development and 4.5 billion recurring budget) was yet to be paid.
The prime minister instructed the finance ministry to pay Rs6 billion immediately but it released only Rs2 billion for recurring budget, the sources said.
An officer of the university, requesting not to be quoted, said non-release of funds had exacerbated problems of students and employees.
“The provincial governments have also refused to extend financial support to the universities till 2014, the year when the higher education sector will be devolved. On the other hand, the federal government seems uninterested in solving the issue,” he said.
“The non-release of development budget will not only affect the higher studies of students, but development projects, salaries of project employees and payment to contractors,” he said.
Another officer on condition of anonymity said the budget announced for 2012-13 is Rs48.5 billion (Rs15.8 billion development and Rs32.7 billion recurring) which is 0.5 per cent more that 2011-12 budget (Rs15.8 billion development and Rs31.5 billion recurring). However, demand for the year 2012-13 was (Rs58 billion) because of devaluation of money and dependence of far-flung universities on HEC, he said.
Vice President of All Pakistan Academic Staff Association Zahid Majeed, told Dawn that Rs2 billion is sufficient for payment of two months salaries. The government should have released Rs11 billion.
“We have already announced that if issues are not be resolved, we will start protest in first phase and then go on complete strike,” he said.Nation.