Lahore’s Plight

F M Shakil in atimes.com, “Punjab province is the focus of a story in which Shahbaz Sharif, as Chief Minister, has been running a parallel municipality into which funds have disappeared. Shahbaz – inspired by the Turkish model of governance – set up six public sector companies to provide civic amenities some nine years ago. By 2016, that number had increased to 63, with capital costs running to US$ 1.5 billion and operating expenses around US$2.5 billion. These public sector companies, established with huge amounts of public funds, have been costly to the exchequer without producing measurable improvements in governance, or to the quality of services and amenities provided.. . . 

The picture gets even murkier in light of allegations that the Punjab government appointed a number of serving bureaucrats as heads of these companies and that they drew dual salaries: one from their parent department and another from the companies’ accounts. The seriousness of the maladministration and mismanagement now being uncovered is illustrated by the fact that financial records from at least 38 companies have gone missing. It is known that Shahbaz’s government appointed 12 sitting members of Punjab’s provincial assembly on the Boards of Directors of the Lahore Transport Company, the Lahore Parking Company, the Punjab Saaf Pani Company, the Lahore Waste Management Company and the Punjab Agriculture and Meat Company. Large funds were placed at their disposal to undertake regular foreign trips and travel in costly bulletproof vehicles. A source in the Punjab revenue department told Asia Times that the audits of the 17 companies so far assessed have alone unearthed irregularities worth US$761 million.'” click here.