Estate Office’s ‘poor performance’ costing Rs164mn to exchequer

  • 254 shops and petrol pumps allotted on rental/lease basis all over the country failed to pay their rent

ISLAMABAD: Due to gross negligence and weak internal mechanisms to ensure timely recovery of rent, the government is enduring a huge financial loss of up to Rs164 million on account of non-recovery of rent from the allottees of shops and petrol pumps all over the country.

Out of 254 shops and a petrol pump allotted to various parties, 218 shops and a petrol pump is located in Karachi whose arrears amount to 160 million rupees alone.

On the other hand, as many as 20 shops are located in Peshawar and 16 shops are in Lahore, against which Rs2.7 million and Rs1.1 million respectively are due to be received in consideration by the government.

The audit department has held that the insufficient utilisation of resources and lack of interest of Estate Office’s has resulted in the non-recovery of 164 million rupees.

Despite various reminders to the concerned department, Estate Office, that comes under Housing and Works Ministry has failed to evict the unauthorised occupants of shops and petrol pumps.

Interestingly, the Estate Office in their reply to auditors tried to bury the issue by telling that the agreement only came to an end this September, and will be renewed.

However, the audit pointed out that not only this does not address the core issues, but it also the changes the policy by the competent authority depicting favoritism to the lessees , which not in the interest of the government as the working, findings and comparison of rates have been reduced from 50 per cent to 25 per cent and increase in lease period from 5 years to 20 years was against the interest of the government in the cost of public exchequer and government is sustaining recurring loss in shape of lesser revenue.

According to the Section 8 of Federal Government Lands and Buildings (Recovery of Possession) Ordinance 1965, any rent payable in respect of any land or building has been in arrears on the day of recovery of possession of such land or building the amount due on account of such arrears, with interest, if any thereon shall be recoverable as arrears of land revenue.

Estate Office is trusted with following duties: Providing government-owned office accommodation to the Federal Ministries & their departments. Allotment of government-owned residential accommodation to Federal & State Ministers and their employees.

Managing commercial units and recovering rent from the allottees/occupants of residential/commercial units and issuance of NOCs.

Cancelling allotment from retired /expires and transferred allottees and proposing the construction of New Accommodation (Office/Residential). Maintaining and upgrading GWL and Litigation cases and ejecting unauthorised occupants from the government-owned accommodation. Lastly, Estate Office is also assigned the duty to assess private accommodations.