The Finance Division has excused from providing finds to the ECP to hold upcoming general elections in Punjab and KP, requesting it to “defer their demand for funds till a suitable time when the economic conditions improve”. The ECP had demanded from the Finance Division a technical supplementary grant of Rs 14.388 billion for holding general elections in Punjab and KP and by-elections on 93 seats of National Assembly. “The ECP had earlier requested for provision of Rs.52.417 billion to meet election related expenses vide letter No.1(1)/2021-22/Budget dated 50 April, 2022. On the request of Finance Division, ECP rationalized its demand to Rs.47.417 billion. The matter was presented to the ECC, which in view of the financial constraints, approved provision of Rs 5 billion already budgeted in addition to Rs 10 billion through Supplementary Grant for the current financial year 2022-23. As directed by the ECC, Rs 5 billion will be released on first tranche and the balance amount in two equal tranche of Rs 5 billion. The second and third tranche shall be released on utilization of the first and second tranche respectively in case No.ECC-325/43/2022 dated 25th November, 2022. In pursuance of decision of the ECC, Rs.5 billion has been released and balance amount of Rs.10 billion is under process,” the Finance Division letter to ECP stated. “Now, ECP has demanded additional funds of Rs.14.388 billion for conducting Provincial elections of Punjab and KP Assembly and Bye-elections on 93 seats of National Assembly vide d.o letter mentioned above. As such ECP has demanded Rs.61.805 billion in total for the conduct of elections. While requesting for additional funds, ECP has not clearly shared details of the required amount. Furthermore, please provide details of expenditure as well as requirements of Foreign Exchange. Also, Finance Division has separately advised ECP to share details of items required to be procured for exemption from Austerity Measures,” the letter continued. “Government of Pakistan is going through unprecedented economic crisis and facing fiscal deficit. Under these challenging circumstances, Government of Pakistan has to ensure funds for flood affected areas and the Census besides meeting expenses on running of the government and provision of sectoral subsidies. In such a scenario, arrangement of funds for unplanned/unbudgeted expenditure would put additional financial burden on the economy. The country Is under Extended Fund Facility program of IMF under which there are strict targets for maintaining fiscal discipline and fiscal / primary deficits,” it further stated. “In view of the aforesaid, fragile economic situation and in the larger interest of the country, ECP Is requested to kindly consider to defer their demand for funds till a suitable time when the economic conditions improve,” it concluded.