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KP govt upset by delay in NFC Award announcement

Bureau Report 2017-07-26
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday said it would approach the president to ensure the early announcement of the 8th National Finance Commission Award for resource distribution by the centre among federating units.

Provincial finance minister Muzafar Said told reporters at the inauguration of the information department`s media centre here that his government was concerned about the delay on part of the federal government in the announcement of the NFC Award.

`It is a constitutional requirement to announce the NFC Award every five years. The provinces need to get due share infederalreceipts under the 8th NFC Award but due to the federal government`s reluctance, the 7th Award is still being followed,` he said.

The minister said the provinces were not happy with the situation.

He accused federal finance minister Ishaq Dar of `continuously telling lies` on the issue and hoodwinking the federal government on the issue.He said the KP government was demanding the immediate convening of the NFC Award meeting and that they had also decided to contact other provincesabouttheissue.

`The centre is using delaying tactics in announcing this award and we (KP) are concerned about it,` he said.

Mr Said announced that the KP government would arrange a moot of other provinces in Islamabad and approach the president to fulfil his responsibilities in that respect.

`It is the president`s constitutional responsibility to ensure the early NFC Award to remove apprehension of smaller provinces, including KP,` he said.

He said the federal government had always ignored Fata in the NFC Award and did nothing to improve the living conditionsin the region.

`The people of Fata even do not have access to clean drinking water,` he said.

KP`s member in the NFC Commission Professor, Mohammad Ibrahim Khan, who was also in attendance, criticised federal finance minister Ishaq Dar over the long delay in the announcement of the award.

He said the current NFC Commission was formed on April 24, 2015, and that its first meeting took place on April 28 and second on Nov 28, 2016.

`It took 19 months to arrange second meeting of the commission,` he said, adding that the third meeting tookplace in Dec 19, 2016, for gaining the nod of the provincesfor seven per cent allocations for Fata and other regions.

He said Mr Ishaq Dar had announced the holding of the next commission meeting in Jan after explaining the seven percent cut in the federal divisible pool funds for the provinces and that the province, too, would share their response.

The member said it was agreed that another meeting would be held to discuss the issue, but that didn`t take place.

He said the federal finance minister was the biggest hurdle to the convening of the NFC Award meeting.

Mr Ibrahim said by going to the president to ask for the NFC Award, the provincial government was exhausting its last option.

`If the president, too, fails to resolve this issue, then we will also consider going to the Supreme Court,` he said.

Mr Ibrahim said in the new NFC Award, the provinces should get around 80 per cent of the federal divisible pool and the centre the rest.

He said KP was given one per cent of the federal divisible pool in the seventh NFC Award but didn`t get billions of rupees worth of its share in that respect.

Minister Said while responding to a question termed the centre`s attitude towards KP unfair and said the federal government was delaying the payment of the province`s due share.