ISLAMABAD: The Centre has called the first meeting of the reconstituted Council of Common Interests (CCI) here on Monday (Sept 24) to take up a six-point agenda besides reviewing status of five decisions of the previous inter-provincial body.

Prime Minister Imran Khan will preside over the meeting, expected to be attended by all the four provincial chief ministers and federal ministers concerned. All the six fresh items on the agenda are moved by various federal ministries.

The implementation status of the old decisions is also expected from federal ministries. Although some subjects on the agenda pertain to the provincial interests, the first meeting of the CCI is not considering any provincial summary.

The first meeting of the reconstituted body will also review on Sept 24 status of five decisions of the previous council

The CCI will take up a summary of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development on post-devolution issues relating to the Employees Old-Age Benefits Institution (EOBI) and Workers Welfare Fund (WWF).

The meeting will also consider two summaries of the Petroleum Division of the Ministry of Energy on Amendment of Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Policy, 2012, and Import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

Also on the agenda is the case for harmonisation of standards and enforcement mechanism between the Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority and provincial food authorities on the request of the ministry of science and technology.

The ministry of interior has moved a summary for creation of a task force to streamline the regulatory functions of the federal government while the ministry of inter-provincial coordination (IPC) is seeking to launch a National Cleanliness Drive.

The meeting will also review the implementation of the decisions previously taken by the CCI, including matters pertaining to the Higher Education Commission in post-18th Amendment scenario, allocation of 1,200 cusecs (650 million gallons per day) of additional water for Karachi city’s K-IV project.

The council will also review the status of the question of resolution of energy problems of Balochistan and enhancement of its absorption capacity, short water supplies in Pat Feeder and Kirthar canals and implementation of Kazi Committee Methodology for calculation of net hydel profit.

Early this month, the government had reconstituted the CCI giving majority members to Sindh. The eight-member council is headed by the prime minister with four provincial chief ministers and federal ministers for IPC, industries and production and finance as its members.

The new CCI has four members of Sindh origin. The previous council under former premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi had four members from Punjab whereas his predecessor Nawaz Sharif had the CCI with two members each from all the four provinces.

Asad Umar is the current finance minister of the country whereas Dr Fehmida Mirza of the Grand Democratic Alliance has been allocated the portfolio of the IPC ministry. A businessman and industrialist, Abdul Razak Dawood, is the adviser to the PM on industries and production with the status of federal minister.

Article 153(2) of the Constitution empowers the prime minister to nominate three federal ministers to the CCI from time to time.

The CCI composition has a critical significance because its decisions are taken through majority opinion. Clause 4 of Article 154 states that “the decisions of the Council shall be expressed in terms of the opinion of the majority”.

The ruling alliance at the centre has an overwhelming majority in the CCI as Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah is the only member belonging to the opposition.

The CCI, which was formed under the 1973 Constitution to resolve the issues between the centre and the federating units (provinces), actually became effective after the historic 18th Constitution Amendment in 2010 when it was placed under the ministry of the IPC, instead of the Cabinet Division. Moreover, under the 18th Amendment, it is mandatory for the CCI to meet once in 90 days.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2018