ISLAMABAD: The first meeting of the reconstituted National Economic Council (NEC), presided over by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Monday, remained divided over two major issues.

According to sources, the centre informed the provinces that about Rs67 billion worth of small and medium development projects in the provinces previously funded from the federal resources would no more be on that portfolio.

“The provinces were asked to take over these projects and finance them from their own sources so that financial burden on the federal government could be reduced,” an official said. The provinces were also told that since their resources had gone up following their increased share out of the federal divisible pool, there was no reason for the federal government to continue execution of projects whose benefits were restricted to provinces.

As the provincial governments protested, the prime minister decided that a special committee on review of the PSDP, comprising the chief ministers, should also deliberate on the issue to identify the projects and decide how to move forward.

The federal government also informed the provinces that a block allocation of Rs115bn for its ‘new development initiatives’ would be available for federal projects and the provinces would not be given any share.—Staff Reporter

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