FCIK welcomes deferment of PAO system



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The Federation of Chambers of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) has welcomed the decision of incumbent Finance Minister Syed Altaf Ahmad Bukhari to put the Pay and Account Office system (PAO) in abeyance and has asked him to repeal all other rules and acts which are detrimental to the economy of the state particularly the central GST law.

The spokesman said in a meeting held under the chairmanship of President FCIK Mukhtar Yousuf, the members said that the new online payment system was impracticable owing to its intricate complex nature of conditions. The members termed it as an outcome of one of the figments of his imagination of the erstwhile minister derived from the ideal societies of Europe and America. The minister should have known that system in practice in developed nations could in no way be made applicable in a conflict and disturbed zone like Kashmir.

FCIK has conveyed its surprise over the suggestions made by some members of the society and political parties that erstwhile minister was removed for being determined to implement so-called reforms in the treasury system. The visible supporters of the system should have known that the PAO system had been integrated with BEAMS (Budget, Estimation, Allocation and Monitoring System) that contained 9 conditions at the policy level and 14 conditions at the operational level to be fulfilled before the presentation of bills for the release of payment to the executing agency. All these conditions are interwoven in a chain and to be compiled by different authorities in the Planning, Finance, Administrative and field levels; the FCIK members informed, adding that any delay or non-compliance at any of these levels automatically renders the whole process redundant.

Giving further details of the PAO and BEAMS systems, FCIK informed that during the current fiscal, the Planning Department was supposed to authorize expenditure to the departments immediately after passage of the budget. Thereafter the Finance department had to release funds to the respective administrative secretaries within 2 weeks who in turn had to release it to subordinate field departments within 4 weeks. The field departments had to complete the tendering process within two months before allotment of works including the grant of administrative approval (AA) and technical sanction. The government has failed in complying all these conditions besides other conditions put forth under the new system. PAO system bars the in-charge treasury officer to release more than 30% of the total estimated cost of a particular work in the last quarter of the fiscal with a cap of 15% only in the month of March. It is no way justified that an allotment order placed after December by any department shall be paid only a fraction of payment for no fault of the executing agency. It is also unjustified that works executed under the previous system in vogue awaiting payments should be put through the new process.

FCIK is not against any new reform that is brought into the system in consultation with the stakeholders to pre-assess its practicability. The Finance Minister is requested frame a committee of officials with genuine stakeholders as its members to ascertain the pros and cons of PAO and BEAMS systems before the system is put into practice. Furthermore, all other policies, rules and regulations including state industrial policy need to be revisited and modified. The FCIK throws a challenge before the incumbent Finance Minister to initiate the process for repealing the central GST Act after introducing state’s own GST law.


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