NFC award: K-P decides to call APC to pile pressure on Centre

Increase in revenue share of provinces to be demanded

Sohail Khattak May 16, 2016
K-P Finance minister Muzaffar presiding over a meeting regarding NFC at Civil Secretariat. PHOTO: NNI

PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to call an all-parties conference at the provincial level to put pressure on the Centre to expedite progress on the 9th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

The decision was taken at the Civil Secretariat on May 12 during an internal meeting of the K-P NFC team which included Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said, NFC Finance non-statutory member Professor Mohammad Ibrahim Khan and K-P government consultant Ihtesham Khan.

Following the meeting, the finance minister held deliberations with K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and confirmed the government was going to hold the conference. “The chief minister will decide the date for the APC this week,” Muzaffar said, adding former finance ministers of K-P will also be invited to participate in the conference along with APC representatives.

The need of the hour

Talking to The Express Tribune, Ibrahim said the federal government was doing injustice with the provinces by delaying the 9th NFC Award as the 7th award expired on June 30, 2015 and is running in an extension period. “We want to formulate a mutually consented line of action at the APC, discuss the situation of the province and then take up the issue with the federal government which has been delaying the award deliberately,” he said.

According to Ibrahim, the present commission that was notified on April 24, 2015 held its first and last meeting on April 28 of the same year and the commission has not met since.

Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar will chair the new NFC meeting which comprises four provincial finance ministers and four technical non-statutory members. Sindh has Saleem Mandviwala, K-P has Professor Mohammad Ibrahim Khan while Balochistan and Punjab have Dr Qaiser Bengali and Naveed Ahsan, respectively, as their non-statutory members.

The commission remained incomplete for months as there were no non-statutory members for first Sindh and then Punjab. Dr Qaiser Bengali—formerly from Sindh’s side—was picked up by the Balochistan government and then Punjab government’s member Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha became finance minister for Punjab, vacating the slot which was later filled in February, 2016.

The agenda

Ibrahim said K-P will be pushing for an increasing share for the war-on-terror from the current 1% of the federal divisible pool to 5% to meet its needs. “We still have the burden of internally displaced persons and Federally Administered Tribal Areas and a 1% share is not sufficient,” he said.

“In the 7th NFC Award, population density has 80% share of the divisible pool, while poverty and underdevelopment was 10.3%. We want the share of the latter to be increased to 15%,” Ibrahim said, adding the provinces have agreed to reduce the share of the federal government in the 9th NFC Award which was currently 42.5% as stated in the 7th NFC Award.

Ibrahim said the government should have announced a fresh NFC Award after the 18th amendment so that the revenue division could be made in accordance with the increased responsibilities of the provinces.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 16th, 2016.


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