LAHORE, Jan 8: The Pakistan State Oil has reportedly stopped giving fuel to official vehicles of the Punjab chief secretary and other senior officials through fleet cards due to non-payment of outstanding bills.
The chief secretary and other officials get petrol for their vehicles from PSO petrol pumps all over the province through these cards.
Presently only one filling station is providing petrol to the official vehicles in Lahore and that too due to courtesy of the owner who is ‘gracious’ enough to ignore non-payment of the outstanding dues for the time being.
Official sources informed Dawn on Tuesday that almost all provincial departments were finding it hard to meet their day to day needs like getting petrol for vehicles and purchase of stationery etc because of the finance department’s reluctance to release funds for the purpose.
They said the departments were facing the crunch right form the beginning of the current fiscal year.
In the first instance, the finance department had cut 2012-13 budget for petrol, stationery and repair of machinery of all departments.
Then, it released 20 per cent of the funds in two installments. Though the third installment of 30 per cent had recently been released, many departments are yet to receive the funds.
The sources said the PSO had stopped giving petrol on the fleet cards around five days ago. The only fuel source left for the official vehicles was the petrol pump in Lahore which too was demanding early clearance of the outstanding bills.
They said many departments were also getting stationery on credit. The officials supposed to purchase such material were using their “good offices” for the credit facility, giving personal assurances to the vendors regarding clearance of the outstanding bills “as soon as possible”.
The officials concerned, however, say it is nothing new for the government that routinely runs its affairs on credit and the pending bills are cleared after the release of 100 per cent budget allocated for departments in the beginning of a financial year. This arrangement would somehow suit the suppliers who kept providing goods or services to the government on credit.
But, this year the outstanding bills could not be cleared because of the release of the funds in meager installments, making it difficult for the purchasing officers to get supplies from the demanding sellers.