The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Council approved six bills and formed committees to develop consensus on additional funds for the G-B government as well as taxes for the region during its third session on Wednesday.
These bills include Controller General Accounts Bill, Auditor General of Gilgit-Baltistan, Advisors (Salaries, Allowances and Privilege Bills), Power Development Board Bill, 2012, Gilgit-Baltistan Council Public Service Commission (Adaptation) Bill, 2012, Gilgit-Baltistan Council, Financial Institutions (recovery of Finances) (Adaptation) Bill, 2012 and Gilgit-Baltistan Council Adaptation of Law Bill, 2012.
Council members decided to form a committee to discuss the provision of additional financial resources to the G-B government in the aftermath of the 18th amendment. Committee members’ recommendations will be subject to the prime minister’s approval.
The committee consists of Minister-in-Charge G-B Council, Mian Manzoor Ahmed Wattoo, Federal Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh, chief minister G-B and federal secretary Kashmir affairs and G-B.
The council approved in principle the Gilgit-Baltistan Council Income Tax (adaptation) Bill and formed a committee to create consensus on the issue. Members will forward their recommendations to the prime minister.
Wattoo, Amjad Hussain, Advisor G-B Wazir Ibadat, and Advisor G-B Council Prof. Ghulam Hussain Saleem were named as members of the committee.
While addressing the council, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who is also the chairman, said it was high time the council and the government jointly chalked out policies and plans especially for mineral development, tourism, forest and electricity to capitalise on untapped resources in G-B for the socio-economic uplift of the region.
The prime minister said Diamer-Bhasha Dam, would generate 4500 megawatts of electricity and help mitigate floods, improve living conditions and create thousands of employment opportunities in G-B.
Council members deferred Gilgit-Baltistan Mineral Development Board Bill 2012 and Forest Advisory and Development Board Bill 2012.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2012.