PESHAWAR: An important meeting regarding financial issues of the province was held here at Chief Minister’s House Peshawar on Monday with the caretaker Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Justice (Retd) Syed Arshad Hussain Shah in the chair. The meeting discussed in detail the financial issues of the province, specially of the Merged Districts related to the federal government, and decided to take up those issues with caretaker prime minister of Pakistan for redressal.
Chief Secretary Nadeem Aslam Chaudhry, IGP Akhtar Hayat Khan Gandapur, Additional Chief Secretary Planning and Development Syed Imtiaz Hussain Shah, Additional Chief Secretary Home Muhammad Abid Majeed, Senior Member Board of Revenue Ikramullah Khan, Secretary Finance Aamir Sultan Tareen and other relevant officials attended the meeting. Caretaker provincial minister for Tribal Affairs Amer Abdullah also attended the meeting via video link.
Briefing the meeting about the current financial situation of the province, it was informed that administrative merger of the erstwhile FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province had been completed, but financial integration is still incomplete due to which, the provincial government is facing financial problems. Besides, commitments made with the province at the time of merger are not being fulfilled which has badly affected the overall development process in the newly merged districts.
It was also told that the province is not getting its due share in various federal transfers due to which the provincial government is faced with a major challenge of financial crunches adding that with the merger of erstwhile FATA into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the population of the province has increased but the share of the province in NFC Award has not been increased accordingly which needs to be updated to enable the province to get its due share.
The meeting was told that as per the existing population after merger of erstwhile FATA, the NFC share of the province comes to 19.64% of the total but the province is getting only 14.62%, and added that annually, Rs 142 billion are required for the current expenditures of NMDs but only Rs 66 billion have been allocated to this effect for current fiscal year and thus, the government is facing a deficit of 76 billion rupees only in terms of current expenditures. It was further told that commitments made by the federal government with regard to the fast track development of the Newly Merged Districts at the time of merger had not yet been fulfilled.
The participants of the meeting were told that a commitment to provide a sum of Rs 19.7 billion for strengthening of police in the merged districts was also made but not yet fulfilled. With regard to the outstanding dues under the head of Net Hydel Profit, it was apprised that approximately Rs. 88 billion are due against the federal government whereas Rs 50 billion under the head of windfall levy on oil are also due against the federal government.
Addressing the participants, caretaker Chief Minister said that merged districts need special attention for their development and redressal of their decades long deprivations, but insufficient transfers from federal government has resulted in slow paced development work in NMDs. However, he said that all out efforts would be made to steer the province out of this financial crisis.