PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has asked the centre to ensure the smooth distribution of resources among the smaller federating units and asked it not too delay the remaining net-hydel profit payment to the province.
“The unequal distribution of resources by the centre is creating a sense of deprivation among the smaller provinces and is a stumbling block for our government’s efforts to alleviate poverty,” said Minister for Finance Sirajul Haq while briefing the media on Thursday at the Civil Secretariat after chairing a meeting of provincial parliamentary leaders.
The meeting was held to discuss financial and economic issues of the province with parliamentary leaders of various political parties. It was attended by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s Sardar Mehtab Abbasi, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl’s Luftur Rehman, Qaumi Watan Party’s Sikandar Khan Sherpao, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Saleem Khan and Awami National Party’s Sardar Hussain Babak, among others. Minister for Information Shah Farman, Minister for Health Shaukat Yousafzai, Minister for Agriculture and IT Shahram Khan Tarakai, among other senior government officials, were also present at the meeting.
Haq said parliamentarians from both the treasury and opposition benches agreed on joint efforts to attain legitimate rights of the province on net-hydel profits along with oil and gas resources. He added leaders from both sides asked the K-P government to establish good governance, initiate sector-wide reforms and bring more transparency in official matters.
“The distribution of resources by the federation should be made on the basis of the growing poverty ratio,” said Haq, reiterating that the net-hydel profit dues were not being disbursed as per earlier decisions of the arbitration tribunal.
K-P has not been given its due share in Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) as the federal government has kept the province’s share at around 14.16%, complained Haq.
When asked about total outstanding hydel dues with the centre, he said the amount was capped in 1991-92 at Rs6 billion under the Qazi formula while the arbitration tribunal had decided to pay Rs110 billion in equal installments of Rs6 billion.
The finance minister stated the province has been adversely affected in the ongoing conflict as education and health facilities and road infrastructure have been badly damaged. He said despite the province’s colossal losses, the centre is giving only 1% funds to it under the head of terrorism which is sheer injustice. Haq demanded it be increased to 5%. He asked that the centre share funds given to it from foreign donors such as the Coalition Support Fund, as the province was the frontline region in the ongoing conflict.
“We don’t want to have a confrontation with the centre for attaining our legitimate rights.”
Published in The Express Tribune, March 7th, 2014.