Cabinet okays release of endowment fund grant

Published: August 1, 2019
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Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal is heading provincial cabinet meeting. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal is heading provincial cabinet meeting. PHOTO: EXPRESS

QUETTA: The Balochistan cabinet on Wednesday approved the immediate release of the grant for the provincial endowment fund allocated in the previous year’s budget.

During a meeting of the provincial cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Jam Kamal, the social welfare department secretary briefed the participants about the utilisation of the endowment fund.

He said Rs700 million were released last year, of which Rs271 million were spent on the treatment of 88 cancer and liver patients at designated hospitals.

The cabinet directed the finance department to issue the remaining Rs428 million of the allocated amount.

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It also sanctioned the International Health Institute’s technical assistance for spending the fund.

The cabinet approved the Balochistan Charities Registration, Regulation and Facilitation Bill 2019 to improve the mechanism of the registration and monitoring of non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Under the law, a database authority will be formed that will be supervised by a director general. Besides, there will be a policymaking board led by the social welfare secretary and comprising representatives of the departments concerned and civil society members.

The board will be assigned the task of monitoring the authority and its activities including the provision of international funding and how it is used.

The cabinet also approved an amendment in Section 18 of the Balochistan Civil Courts Ordinance 1962 that will authorise the appellate district and session court to deal  with cases involving Rs100 million against the previous amount of Rs0.5 million.

The cabinet directed the provisional excise department to not collect federal service charges until the matter is discussed with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman.

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A federal tax of 5% has been imposed as service charges on the collection of taxes from vehicles.

The cabinet also discussed the establishment of the Balochistan Information Technology Board and the Balochistan Science and Technology Board after the information and technology department presented its briefing to the participants.

Later it was decided that a software development, artificial intelligence and information technology park would be established in the province and the department was instructed to increase its capacity to work on such mega projects.

Addressing the cabinet members, the chief minister said the information and technology sector in Balochistan offered much potential but no measures had been taken so far for its development.

“Providing financial assistance to the students in this field can help in its progress,” he added.

The cabinet decided that an advisory council would be formed comprising science and technology experts. They also agreed to set up an independent institute for the monitoring of government departments.

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