In a first, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Thursday held its meeting in a district of erstwhile Fata, Landi Kotal, and announced to continue the tax exemption for the region.
Before its merger with KP, the region was enjoying tax exemption under the umbrella of the federal government.
KP Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai held a press conference to share the details of the meeting. Finance Minister Tamour Jhagra also attended the presser.
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He said that the cabinet has endorsed the decision to table a bill in the provincial assembly pertaining to financial support to terrorists and money laundering. He added that another bill, seeking to transform and absorb professional offenders into the mainstream of the society, will also be tabled in the assembly.
According to the minister, the cabinet also approved an annual development programme for the newly merged districts into the province. It was also decided in the meeting that 17,000 vacant seats in health and education departments would be filled.
The provincial cabinet, he said, approved to constitute municipal corporations in sub-districts of the former Fata region. The cabinet also approved to equip 300 mosques in the tribal areas with solar panels, he added.
Yousafzai further said that a provincial health policy as well as a policy for mines' safety were also approved. Under the new mines policy, safety measures have been made mandatory for miners.
To boost the tourism industry in the province, the KP cabinet decided to constitute a Tourism Authority. The cabinet members also agreed to reintroduce safari train and bus services in the province.
The famous Khyber steam rail was discontinued owing to militancy in the tribal region in 2008. Last year, Zahoor Durrani — CEO of Sehrai Travels who ran the Khyber steam safari service from Peshawar to Landi Kotal for tourists between 1990 and 2008 — had appreciated the government’s decision on resumption of the vintage Khyber steam safari train.
A health policy was also approved for the province.
The cabinet also decided to restore a railway track to and from Torkham border crossing, which will be made operational 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
The minister told the media that the provincial government will spend Rs20 billion on the districts of the former Fata. Rs2bn loans will also be provided to the youth of erstwhile Fata, he added.