Watchdog for charities gets KP cabinet’s nod

Updated November 22, 2019

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Chief Minister Mahmood Khan chairs cabinet meeting in Peshawar on Thursday.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan chairs cabinet meeting in Peshawar on Thursday.

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Thursday approved the formation of a commission to regulate the functioning of charities in the province and ensure the effective use of charitable funds.

The cabinet meeting was chaired by Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and attended by its members and administrative secretaries.

The prime minister’s special assistant on social protection and poverty alleviation, Dr Sania Nishtar, briefed participants about the Ehsaas programme.

Information minister Shaukat Yousafzai told reporters afterward that the cabinet approved a proposal to set up the charities commission under the KP Charities Act, 2019.

The KP government had enacted the legislation earlier in July this year.

Relaunch of interest-free loan scheme also approved

Mr Yousafzai said the commission would ensure the implementation of the provisions of the law and regulate the collection of charitable funds.

The secretary of the home and tribal affairs secretary will be the commission’s chairperson, while the secretaries of finance and relief departments, principal secretary to the chief minister and commissioner of Mardan will serve as its commissioners.

Mr Yousafzai said the commission would ensure that charitable funds are not used for other purposes and that it would also contribute to the implementation of the recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force.

He said Dr Sania Nishtar briefed the cabinet about the Ehsas programme and said under the programme, 134 initiatives had been launched to reduce poverty and create economic opportunities in the country, while around Rs190 billion had been earmarked for poverty eradication initiative during the current fiscal.

The minister said the cabinet discussed the recent increase in flour price and the steps taken by the food department to control prices.

He said the cabinet was informed about the lifting of the ban on flour transportation from Punjab to KP.

The minister said currently, the province had 25,000 tons of wheat, while 300,000 tons was being procured.

He said currently, there was no shortage of flour in the province.

The minister said the province’s own wheat production stood at around 1.9 million ton per annum, while its annual requirement stood at 4.6 million tons.

He said the province always faced a shortage of 3.4 million tons of wheat.

Mr Yousafzai said on a proposal to hand over the administrative control of the KP Food Safety and Halal Food Authority to the food department from the health department, the cabinet decided to place it under the chief minister’s control for the time being.

He said the cabinet also approved amendments to the rules governing the medical teaching institutions and thus, granting the government a say in the affairs of those health facilities.

The minister said the enforcement of those rules would enable the government to take action in the affairs of hospitals.

He said the government’s MTI experiment did not provide the desired facilities but the amendment to rules would ensure better health facilities.

The cabinet also approved the relaunch of the Khudkafalat Rozgar Scheme, an interest-free loan scheme, with a new name, Insaf Rozgar Scheme, in the province. Under the initiative, Rs2 billion would be disbursed to the youths of the province in the shape of Rs50,000-Rs500,000 loans.

It approved the establishment of Rescue 1122 stations in Buner district that will be in addition to to extension of rescue facilities to districts of Shangla, Malakand, Lower Kohistan and Lakki Marwat, which is included in the annual development programme for 2019-20.

The cabinet approved the withdrawal of an amendment to Section 105 of the KP Forest Ordinance, 2002.

Mr Yousafzai said the provision allowed the energy and power department to use forest areas for energy projects but the cabinet approved the forest department’s proposal to withdraw the amendment to protect forests.

He said the cabinet also approved the handing over of the University Town and Karkhano Market from the Peshawar Development Authority to the Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar and handing over of the Galiyat and Kaghan development authorities to the tourism department.

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2019