Loss estimates done by provinces disregarded

Govt has decides to reassess losses of flood-hit areas under a ‘centralised uniform’ policy.


Zia Khan September 16, 2010

ISLAMABAD: As provinces continue to fight for a bigger chunk of international aid money, the government has decided to reassess losses of flood-hit areas under a ‘centralised uniform’ policy.

The decision was made by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani during a meeting with his economic managers on Wednesday.

The new policy plan comes after reports that provinces have overestimated their losses in reports prepared for federal authorities.

Gilani said he would call another meeting of the Council of Common Interest (CCI) — a constitutional body to resolve inter-provincial disputes — to achieve a national consensus on the issue.

No schedule, however, was given for the meeting of the body that rarely meets in normal circumstances.

In the last CCI meeting, the provinces aired doubts about the initial loss assessment submitted by each of them. Aid from the Centre was supposed to be distributed on the basis of that estimation.

However, Gilani has now directed the finance ministry and planning division officials to prepare a comprehensive national rehabilitation and reconstruction plan, to ensure judicious distribution among the provinces and transparent disbursement of funds to the affected people, a statement said.

“The plan will be discussed in the CCI to achieve national consensus,” the statement quoted the premier as telling officials, including Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.

“A uniform assessment policy will be worked out in consultation with the provinces for disbursement of the remaining amount of the relief package,” the prime minister added.

Gilnai said the first phase of flood relief operation is close to completion and disbursement of relief assistance is in progress, while a second phase of rehabilitation will soon be launched in all the flood-hit areas.

He directed all concerned ministries and institutions to evolve a well-coordinated plan ensuring transparency.

Gilani urged for concerted efforts to sensitise the international community and create better awareness about the plight of millions of flood victims, as well as to mobilise support for assistance for the rehabilitation and reconstruction phase.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2010.

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