dailypeghamKARACHI / KARACHI / PUL-E-ALAM / ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission (PMIC) – a supervisory arm of the prime minister’s secretariat tasked to monitor federal government institutions – has once again been allocated a relatively paltry sum in the new budget probably due to its ‘not so extensive’ engagements.

The budgetary allocations for the upcoming financial year 2016-17 suggest that the PMIC’s annual budget has been given Rs64,904,000, compared to Rs62,000,000 allocated to it in the outgoing financial year 2015-16, showing a marginal increase of 4.7 per cent.

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Supposed to keep a watchful eye on the functioning of federal ministries, divisions and departments, the PMIC has not been in the spotlight the way other inspection and accountability organs have been. This is because the PMIC has traditionally been regarded as a less effective body due to various factors.

In comparison with the PMIC that is run under the direct supervision of the premier, the federal ombudsman is an independent constitutional body fully autonomous in taking decisions against any federal government institution.

The PMIC chairman requires the PM’s prior approval before any operational activity while there is no such requirement for the federal ombudsman who acts in an independent capacity.

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“This is the main reason why the number of complaints that the PMIC receives against the federal government bodies is far less than those received by the federal ombudsman,” the officials shared with The Express Tribune.

A well-placed source in the PM Secretariat said the federal ombudsman’s annual budget is several times larger than that of the PMIC due to the ombudsman’s extensive official engagements. The federal ombudsman has been earmarked Rs580 million in the new federal budget.

The relevant clauses of the PMIC’s statute which grants the PM unchallenged authority over the commission reads, “The commission shall, when so directed by the prime minister, carry out inspection or conduct inquiries in respect of any federal government’s institution or their employees.”

Apart from the federal ombudsman, the proactive functioning of other relevant and constitutionally independent offices – including the women, banking, tax and provincial ombudsmen as well as the National Accountability Bureau – leaves little space and justification for the PMIC.

Headed by a chairman, the PMIC comprises as many members as the PM deems necessary to appoint and over a dozen staff officials. The commission was first set up during the tenure of late military ruler General Ziaul Haq.

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However, the PMIC remained largely non-functional in the tenures that followed till the PPP revived this office after coming into power in 2008, under the chairmanship of Nawab Sher Waseer. Colonel (retd) Saifuddin Qureshi is the PMIC’s current chairman.

In the new federal budget, nearly Rs45 million have been allocated for the salaries of the PMIC’s employees, Rs13 million for the operating expenses and Rs1.2 million for repair and maintenance of the PMIC office.