18th Amendment: Implementation Commission report unveiled

Published: May 4, 2011
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Document details how devolution to provinces is being carried out and facilitated.

Document details how devolution to provinces is being carried out and facilitated.

The Implementation Commission on 18th Amendment has created a unique tradition of openness, transparency and accountability by placing its performance report before the both houses of the Parliament.

The report was presented by Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Chairman of the Implementation Commission in the Senate on Tuesday, said a press release. Earlier, on  April 29, 2011 it was placed before the National Assembly. The 58 page report enlists all the steps taken by the Implementation Commission during the last 11 months since its creation on May 4, 2010. The report provides information about the way historic devolution of powers to the provinces is being carried out and facilitated.

The report provides adequate answers to ‘devolution skeptics’ as it reveals how carefully all legal, administrative and financial aspects are being taken into account.

The eight- member multi-party commission held 50 meetings and created a committee to prepare options on the financial aspects involved in the devolution process.  The commission held meetings with the provincial chief secretaries to know the preparedness of provincial governments to take over the activities of the devolved ministries. Federal teams also visited the provincial capitals to check the steps taken by the provincial governments in this regard.

During its work the Commission ensured that any legislation, activity or function, if had to be retained in the federal government had to be supported from one or the other entry in the federal legislative list or any article of the Constitution

Achievements:

As of today the Commission has devolved 10 ministries, nine selected functions of six federal ministries that fall under the abolished Concurrent list and has recommended the creation of a Capital Administration and Development Division.

None of the employee has been laid off or retrenched. Rather the employees of these ministries working in the main secretariats have been adjusted in other ministries.

The National Economic Council has been notified according to the new composition defined by the Constitution.

The Federal Board of Revenue has been advised that no taxation proposal is made about a subject that is not included in the Federal Legislative List or was part of the omitted Concurrent Legislative List.

A committee set up by the commission prepared options on the financial aspects involved in the devolution process.

Office buildings, furniture, fixture, equipment and transport in use of devolved ministries will be handed over to the provinces. Inventories of moveable and immovable assets are being maintained.

New rules of procedure of Council of Common Interests (CCI) have been approved

The CCI on July 18, 2010 received briefing about the Implementation Commission and its actions and future plan. The CCI was also apprised about the position regarding composition of implementation/coordination cells in the provinces.

The commission sensitized the civil servants on the consequences of the 18th Amendment at a meeting with the Federal secretaries.

Examined the activities of 34 ministries and proposed revisions in the Rules of Business-1973 as per the requirement of devolution.

The Election Commission of Pakistan was informed about the new mechanism of the appointments of the Commission members.

After clause by clause review relevant offices and authorities were informed about necessary action.

The Council of Common Interests in its meeting on February 1, 2011 decided to constitute a committee comprising of the secretary finance and four chief secretaries to work out the financial impact of the devolution and suggest various possible scenarios to meet the said liability by the federation or provinces. This matter has been placed before the Council of Common Interests on April 28, 2011.

Major changes after the Constitution (Eighteenth) Amendment Act-2010

The Constitution (Eighteenth) Amendment Act-2010 has amended 102 articles.

The abolition of Concurrent Legislative list is a major headway towards provincial autonomy.

Out of the 47 subjects of the Concurrent list, one item, Boiler (no. 29), has been shifted to the Federal Legislative List-I, while two items, Electricity and Legal, medical and other professions to the Federal Legislative List-II (Participatory management both by the Federation and the Federating units through Council of Common Interests)

Four subjects have been shifted from part one of the Federal Legislative List to part two (shared responsibility). These subjects include:

(i)  Major ports, that is to say, the declaration and delimitation of such ports, and the constitution and powers of port authorities therein.

(ii) Census

(iii) Extension of the powers and jurisdiction of members of police force belonging to any provinces to any area in other provinces to exercise powers and jurisdiction in another province without the consent of the government of that province; extension of the powers and jurisdiction of members of a police force belonging to any province to railway areas outside the province.

(iv)        National planning and national economic coordination including planning and coordination of scientific and technological research.

•  Five new subjects have been added to the Federal Legislative List-II (Shared responsibility).

(i)  All regulatory authorities established under a Federal Law

(ii) Supervision and management of public debt

(iii)  Legal, medical and other professions

(iv)       Standards in institutions for higher education and research, scientific and technical institutions

(v) Inter-Provincial matters and coordination

• Five subjects have been deleted from the Federal List-I (hey become residual or exclusive provincial power)

(i)  State lotteries

(ii) Duties regarding succession of property

(iii)      Estate duty in respect to property

(iv) Capital gains

(v)  General sales tax on services

•   One new subject has been added to the Federal List-I

(i)  International treaties, conventions and agreements and International arbitration.

•  Shared ownership in oil, gas and territorial waters (Article 172).

•   The Constitutionally mandated deadline for devolution is June 30, 2011.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2011.

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