The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) cabinet on Monday authorised the chief minister to sign MoU in connection with the IMF under the shared fiscal responsibilities of the federal and provincial governments.
In a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, it was unanimously decided that the rights of the province would be protected at every cost.
Besides the cabinet members, the chief secretary, additional chief secretary, and senior members board of revenue and administrative secretaries of various government departments were also in attendance.
The development came days after the provincial government demanded of the federal government to address the tribal districts and Sehat Card funding issues and ensure the transfer of net hydel profit on a monthly basis to enable it to sign the memorandum of understanding with it on fiscal responsibility.
In a letter to Finance Minister, K-P finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra had said that the centre had shared the MoU on fiscal responsibility with the province, which would be placed before the provincial cabinet in due course of time.
However, during their interactions with the media on Monday, provincial ministers, including Taimur Jhagra and Anwar Zeb Khan, claimed the letter was sent to the federal government by the provincial government on June 29 and they were still awaiting the response.
They alleged that the federal government by withdrawing support had deprived the people of merged districts from the free treatment facility which was being provided to them under the Sehat Card scheme.
“Agreement with the IMF is a collective responsibility but protecting the province's interests is also our foremost responsibility which would be fulfilled anyway. The people of merged areas are our brethren, and they would not be deprived of the free treatment facility,” they observed.
The ministers stressed that no final decision to ink the MoU had been taken yet and maintained that they did not want to do politics on the matter. However, they added, the MoU will be signed as and when their concerns were addressed by the federal government.
The federal government, they said, has meeting out “step-motherly” treatment to the small provinces, especially the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Despite financial constraints, the chief minister has approved to continue the Sehat Card programme within the province’s own resources. Necessary arrangements are being made to continue the Sehat Card scheme under the direction of the chief minister till the transfer of funds from the federal government.”
They further informed that the cabinet accorded approval to declare 24074 Hectares (59489 Acres) area in South Waziristan as Gomal Zam Dam Wetland Conservancy to intensively protect the wildlife resources as well as enhance the population of the target wildlife species.
The site has great potential to provide habitats to the migratory as well as native birds and animals like wolf, jackal, jungle cat, rock pigeon, partridges, chukar, Eurasian sparrow hawk, common kingfisher, green bee-eater and crested lark.
The cabinet, they further informed, also approved a sum of Rs29.389 million as a supplementary grant to be paid to the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) Peshawar, the government of Pakistan to clear the outstanding dues from 2001-22 on account of lease money of the Cereal Crops Research Institute (CCRI) Pirsabak, Nowshera.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2022.
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