LAHORE:02January:The Punjab government released Rs3.5 billion in the non-salary budget (NSB) for schools and placed the amount for each district in the Special Drawing Accounts (SDAs) of the District Education Authority’s Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) accounts. The released amount is the second installment for the fiscal year 2017-18 released by the provincial government. It also ordered to place the sanctioned amount in the existing District Education Authority (SDAs) of DEAs and District Education Officers (Secondary) (DEOs). The release of funds for the second quarter of the current fiscal year is part of the Punjab government’s move to give some financial independence to schools so that they could improve infrastructure, hire part-time staff etc. A formula has also been devised to pay the NSB funds to all primary, elementary, high and higher secondary schools in each of the 36 districts of the province. According to the allocation made for the 2nd quarter each district, Attock received Rs72.57 million, Bahawalnagar Rs123 million, Bahawalpur Rs92.31 million, Bhakkar Rs73.15 million, Chakwal Rs58.36 million, Chiniot Rs51.8 million, Dera Ghazi Khan Rs104.18 million, Faisalabad Rs243.9 million, Gujranwala Rs124.09 million, Gujrat Rs97.91 million, Hafizabad Rs45.64 million, Jehlum Rs48.73 million, Jhang Rs103.87 million, Kasur Rs118.46 million, Khanewal Rs123.12 million, Khushab Rs52.50 million, Lahore Rs168.42 million, Layyah Rs85.86 million, Lodhran Rs49.83 million, Mandi Bahauddin Rs62.38 million, Mianwali Rs70.13 million, Multan Rs106.93 million, Muzaffargarh Rs107.71 million, Nankana Sahib Rs54.85 million, Narowal Rs77.1 million, Okara Rs115.19 million, Pakpattan Rs71.68 million, Rahim Yar Khan Rs160.07 million, Rajanpur Rs53.43 million, Rawalpindi Rs116.09 million, Sahiwal Rs100.73 million, Sargodha Rs141.95 million, Sheikhupura Rs94.89 million, Sialkot Rs123.1 million, Toba Tek Singh Rs100.57 million and Vehari Rs105.3 million. The Punjab Management and Implementation Unit of the Punjab Education Sector Reform Programme (PMIU-PESRP) has also written a letter to all CEOs of DEAs to ensure allocation and transfer of funds to individual schools in their respective districts. The letter stated, “Chief Executive Officers, District Education Authorities are requested to ensure that every school council already has an exclusive bank account for these funds. The head teachers and co-chairperson will continue to be the custodian of school council funds as co-signatories. The school council NSB account can only be opened in the name of the school.” Furthermore, the letter said that all NSB funds provided to schools would be subject to audit by the Auditor General of Pakistan. The officials have also been directed to ensure ‘effective and efficient’ monitoring and utilization of the funds, the letter added. A similar transfer of NSB funds of Rs3.5 billion was made for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2017-18.Published in The Express Tribune, January 2nd, 2018.