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Provinces demanded release of funds in Council of Common Interests at PM House

Council of Common Interests
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News Analysis |

Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi assured the provinces that pending funds will be released before May, in an attempt to address the concerns of the provinces over the payment of outstanding funds. The PM on Monday chaired a 35th meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI) at the PM house where he assured them [Provinces] of the prompt release of the funds.

The participants of the meeting included Punjab Finance Minister Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa CM Pervaiz Khattak, and Balochistan CM Abdul Quddus Bizenjo. Moreover, the senior officials from federal and provincial governments were also present in the meeting. This CCI meeting primarily reviewed the implementation status of decisions taken during its meeting held on 24th November 2017.

It was a lengthy meeting, which dealt with a wide range of issues. Some of the main issues addressed during the meeting also included progress on the audit of a population census, progress on the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), gas and electricity management by the provinces, and problems facing sugarcane growers and the wellbeing of the senior citizens of the country.

All the provincial governments are making attempts to complete the projects in hand with speed to woo voters for the upcoming general elections. It could potential directly affect their chances of winning as Pakistan’s politics revolves around the local and provincial work which is physically apparent to people.

The Minister for Federal Education & Professional Training updated the CCI on matters pertaining to Higher Education in the context of post Eighteenth Amendment scenario.

The CCI noted “as per the Constitution, formulation of standards in institutions for higher education and research, scientific and technical institution is the responsibility of the Federal Government. It was agreed that both the Federal and Provincial Governments would undertake monitoring, evaluation, and accreditation of such institutes”.

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In a very important development, CCI ordered the Federal Ministry of Education to establish a national level testing after consultation with all the relevant stakeholders to ensure the unified assessment standards across the country. Finally, provincial representation among the seven members appointed by the PM in the Higher Education Commission (HEC) will be ensured. 

The board of Investment (BOI) briefed the CCI regarding the development of Special Economic Zones under CPEC. CCI also directed all the provinces to submit proposals for the establishment of priority SEZs CPEC for early implementation. Moreover, it also asked the provinces to submit bankable proposals/documents for establishment of priority SEZs for early implementation.

Minister for Power Division Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari had said that electricity generated should be provided to local Disco rather than connecting them with national grid because it is not economically viable as it costs more than the actual cost of the hydel projects.

CCI also dealt with the problems facing the sugarcane growers in timely payments on prescribed rates. PM directed the Minister of National Food Security to take on board all the relevant stakeholders and come up with a strategy which is acceptable to all stakeholders.

In another development related to senior citizens, the Federal government is to devise a policy and will define parameters, which will serve as a guideline for the provincial governments to formulate their own respective policy in this regard.

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The issues related to gas and electricity management by the provinces including generation, transmission, and distribution was also reflected upon. During the meeting, planning commission along with the power division was directed to accelerate the energy projects in the province to overcome energy shortages.

The CCI noted “as per the Constitution, formulation of standards in institutions for higher education and research, scientific and technical institution is the responsibility of the Federal Government.

The federal government and KP CM had a spat over the bureaucracy obstacles facing the KP government, which was unable to complete its objectives. Minister for Power Division Awais Ahmad Khan Leghari had said that electricity generated should be provided to local Disco rather than connecting them with national grid because it is not economically viable as it costs more than the actual cost of the hydel projects. KP held the federal government responsible for hindering the production of electricity through hydel projects.

Read more: PM Abbasi finally takes notice of sugarcane farmer fiasco

Continuing with its concern, KP along with the Sindh government accused the bureaucracy of holding on to funds, which delayed the completion of the infrastructure projects.

All the provincial governments are making attempts to complete the projects in hand with speed to woo voters for the upcoming general elections. It could potential directly affect their chances of winning as Pakistan’s politics revolves around the local and provincial work which is physically apparent to people.


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