Government Considers Cutting Funds for COVID Program


by Hamna Bano

10 Best Activities



The federal government is considering cutting funding to Rs. 88 billion nationwide health program. The health program particularly started three years ago to fight COVID-19 and other natural disasters owing to poor implementation progress by regional administrators and provinces. 

The COVID-19 Responsive and Other Natural Calamities Control Program was approved in 2020 for implementation across all provinces. This was done on a 50:50 cost-sharing basis among provinces and as federally financed projects in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.


However, from the federal share of Rs. 46 billion, the center released about 83 percent worth Rs. 38 billion. The revives could utilize no more than Rs. 10. 5 billion, accounting for only 27.6 percent of funds released or about 23 percent of the total federal share. 

Consequently, the appropriate authorities in the Ministry of Development and Planning have suggested taking the matter to the prime minister for the withdrawal of unutilized funds from the provinces. 

This umbrella project was originally approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council in 202 to provide support to provinces to respond, mitigate, and reduce the impact of the pandemic at an estimated total cost of Rs. 70 billion. 

The project was then expanded and included the upgradation and advancements of public sector health facilities across the country to Rs. 88 billion to cope with epidemics, emergencies, and natural calamities. 

Informed resources said that “a recent meeting of the Central Development Working Party was told that as of February, the utilization of funds released by the center stood precariously low in Sindh and Punjab at 10pc and 25pc respectively.”

The utilization rate however was great in Balochistan at 80 percent and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was 40 percent. Strangely, the federal government didn't release the same funds for similar schemes in Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir.