K-P to strictly monitor charities

Published: November 22, 2019
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Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan. PHOTO: PTI

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan. PHOTO: PTI

PESHAWAR: With the country coming under intense scrutiny over how money is used by charitable organisations, the provincial government on Thursday decided to form a commission which will closely monitor funds being collected by such establishments.

This was directed during a meeting of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) cabinet, which convened with Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair on Thursday.

Briefing the media after the cabinet meeting, K-P Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai said that the commission will comprise five members.

“The commission will be headed by the Interior secretary with four other members to work on regularizing charity collection in the province,” the minister said.

He added that the government has already been working to monitor and regulate how charitable organisations collect funds but the commission will help plug any holes and make the process bulletproof.

“Pakistan has to comply with demands made in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) to prove that we are a responsible nation and are fully cooperating with international efforts to combat terrorism by blocking financial support to extremists and terrorist organizations,” he said, adding that the provincial cabinet has also approved corrections in printing errors in clauses (0) and (r) of the K-P Charity Act 2019.

During the cabinet meeting, Yousafzai said that CM Mahmood informed them that the Chishma Right Bank Canal (CBRC) lift canal has been included in the list of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which will help develop the agricultural sector in the province.

In this regard, he directed to devise effective plans to stop the decrease in cultivatable lands in the province.

Flour shortage

The provincial food department briefed the cabinet about the recent flour crisis in the province and that it was the result of exports to Afghanistan and untimely rains.

The forum was told that the issue is being resolved after the province received 25,000 tonnes of wheat. The wheat arrived as Punjab lifted a ban to provide the commodity to K-P. A further 300,000 tonnes of wheat will be procured shortly to meet public needs.

Moreover, Peshawar banned the export of wheat to Afghanistan which has helped stabilise prices, Yousafzai said. In this regard, the information minister said that the cabinet also considered a summary by the K-P Food Department to bring the provincial Halal Food and Safety Authority (K-PHFSA) under its control instead of the health department.

He explained that the health department is already bogged down in managing administrative affairs of hospitals, medical institutions and other health-related bodies. Further, he said that giving the food department the control of the authority will follow similar setups in other provinces of the country.

It was decided that the chief minister will decide after consulting officials of the department.

Developments

Yousafzai said that the provincial government has initiated work on maintaining and excavating for a 35-kilometre-long road in Haripur with the assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the project would be completed accordance with the approved design and it was necessary for the farmer to use the allotted land four meters wide for forests and The matter was presented to the cabinet for approval, which was approved by the cabinet.

The cabinet reversed an amendment made in Section-105 of the K-P Forest Ordinance 2002 following a summary tabled by the energy department. Under the amendment, forest cover could be used for the construction of energy projects of national importance but now this will not be allowed.

The minister said that provision was resulting in damage to forest land, hence it was decided that if any department wants to use forest land, permission for it will be approved by the provincial cabinet on a case to case basis. The cabinet also approved the Annual Development Programme (ADP) schemes for establishing a Rescue 1122 in Buner in addition to setting up the centres in Shangla, Malakand, Lower Kohistan and Lakki Marwat which are already included in the ADP.

The cabinet also approved the reorganization of the Provincial Training Board under the Industry, Trade and Technical Education Department.

Other thirteen members of the board would be Additional Secretary P&D, Additional Secretary Finance, Additional Secretary Science and Technology, Director Labor, MD Toyota, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry and others.

To support unemployed youngsters, Yousafzai said that the cabinet had decided to revive the ‘Self Livelihood programme’ (Khud Rozgaar) on the pattern of the Insaf Rozgar programme in the newly-merged tribal districts with a fund of Rs2 billion through the Bank of Khyber. Under the programme, loans from Rs50,000 to Rs500,000will be given to youngsters. A majority of the programme, 78%, will be for men, 20% for women and two per cent for the specially-abled.

The Cabinet also approved a new formula for utilising revenue generated by public hospitals. It was decided that funds will be used for paying diagnostic and treatment costs under the Seht Sahulat Programme, 25% for minor repairs and maintenance of the hospitals, 20% on other items, 30% on doctors and surgeons, 15% of nurses and paramedics, and 10% on administrative matters.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 22nd, 2019.

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