PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in principle approved the utilisation of Tobacco Development Cess (TDC) Funds for the tobacco producing districts of the province, an official statement said on Monday.
However he made clear that these funds must be released by deputy commissioners concerned after scrutinising the facts and figures to insure realistic evaluation, the statement read.
Mahmood was chairing a meeting at CM Secretariat Peshawar that was attended by Provincial Ministers Taimur Salim Jhagra, Shehram Khan Tarakai, Sultan Mohammad Khan, Special Assistant for Industries Abdul Karim Khan, MPAs of the tobacco growing districts, administration secretaries of the departments concerned and other higher authorities.
The CM was briefed in respect of the utilisation of Tobacco Development Cess for the years 2016-17 and 2017-18. The meeting gave approval to the methodology for revenue collection of the Cess, its utilisation, setting up of the concerned committee and TDC revenue generation also took stock of the factual revenue collection for the years 2016-17 and 2017-18 that amounted to Rs263.415 million and Rs397.66 million respectively.
The meeting was informed that the overall ADP evaluation for the year 2017-18 was Rs100 million while for the year 2018-19 it was Rs261.928 million.
It was further told that TDC fund was allocated for the tobacco producing districts on the basis of the total tobacco produce of the area concerned wherein Pakistan Tobacco Board provided the data for the purpose.
It was further revealed that distribution of funds within the districts was undertaken on the basis of under cultivation land of tobacco crops for which data was being provided by the deputy commissioner of the district concerned. The meeting was also informed of the proposed shares in tobacco development cess funds for the district of Swabi, Mardan, Charsadda, Buner, Nowshera, Malakand and Mansehra of the years 2016-17 and 2017-18.
CM Mahmood in principle approved the proposed evaluation of TDC Funds for various constituencies. However, on the proposal of MPA of the relevant districts, he directed for release of the funds after revision of the facts and figures. He also directed for reviewing the data for the year 2018-19 in backdrop of the new delimitations of the concerned constituencies.
Mahmood said that provincial government was streamlining all the sectors so that various matters and things were made clearer and transparent and institutions worked in the right direction under its ambits of better service delivery. He said that this would also greatly contribute in safeguarding the rights of the people and ensure transparent and judicious resources.
He assured that positive progress and changes could be seen in the coming budget in this regard. The meeting was proposed that shares of the concerned districts might be provided on tobacco prices and rates instead of its produce as there was difference of rates and quality of tobacco crops in different districts.
Marble city for Buner
CM Mahmood said that provincial government will set up a marble city in Buner so as to exploit the local resource for generating economic activities and creating employment opportunities.
Talking to a delegation of Buner that called on him at CM House Peshawar led by MPA Riaz Khan, the chief minister also assured of providing piped gas to the underdeveloped district.
He said that he was aware of the problems and grievances of the people of the backward districts as he belonged to a backward area.
The 200-member delegation comprised elected local government representatives, Nazmeen, Insaf Students Federation (ISF), Insaf Doctors Forum (IDF) and PTI youth officer bearers and workers. On this occasion former Tehsil Councillor from Buner Dr Abdullah announced joining PTI along with dozens of his supporters and family members. The CM welcomed the newcomers to the PTI fold and put party caps on their heads.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 5th, 2019.