Interim finance commission award functional: Buzdar

Updated 25 Jan 2020

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Punjab CM Usman Buzdar says a sum of Rs187 billion had been released under the Annual Development Programme. — Usman Buzdar Twitter/File
Punjab CM Usman Buzdar says a sum of Rs187 billion had been released under the Annual Development Programme. — Usman Buzdar Twitter/File

LAHORE: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar says the interim provincial finance commission award 2017 is functional while the Punjab cabinet has accorded approval for the constitution of a commission under the Punjab Local Government Act 2019.

The chief minister said the commission would be notified soon and added that a total of 455 local governments would be constituted in Punjab.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had last week directed the Punjab government to release provincial finance commission award funds to districts after federal minister Fawad Chaudhry criticised the Buzdar government over the issue. The chief minister claimed a sum of Rs187 billion had been released under the Annual Development Programme (ADP). Out of it, Rs107 billion had been spent, he said while chairing a meeting at his office on Friday to review different matters, including the provincial finance commission, establishment of industrial estates and special economic zones, progress on the annual development programme and Prime Minister’s Kamyab Naujawan Programme.

Since PTI’s 20 MPAs had raised their voice for being ignored in terms of development projects, the meeting also discussed development schemes for national and provincial constituencies — hoping no new group should surface to seek funds.

Speaking at the meeting, the chief minister said the genuine rights of elected representatives would be given to them at any cost. “The genuine work of MNAs and MPAs will be done on a priority basis,” assured Mr Buzdar.

The chief minister said a proposal of setting up of public-private partnership infrastructure fund was also under consideration. Similarly, out of the reserved amount of Rs62 billion, he said, Rs42 billion had been released for development of southern Punjab.

The chief minister said ban had been imposed on the transfer of funds reserved for the development of backward areas to other localities or projects. He said the departments had also been instructed to expedite the pace of work on ADP schemes. He said timely utilization of released funds would be ensured adding that 17 places have been identified for accelerating the industrial process in the province and a strategy was being devised for their development.

He added that the Quaid-e-Azam Apparel Park project would be inaugurated in the month of March. The special economic zones would enhance employment opportunities through new investment.

Mr Buzdar said a new industrial estate would be established in Sialkot over an area of 1000 acres of land to create around 350,000 new jobs opportunities. The chief minister said industrial estates ware also being developed in backward areas.

The chief minister said billions of rupees had been earmarked for the Punjab municipal services programme and added that non-functional sewerage and water supply schemes would be reactivated under this programme. He said necessary machinery would also be procured for solid waste management and work would be done in constituencies. The Punjab Municipal Services Programme would be started from next month, he added. He said the second phase of repair and maintenance programme of rural roads was being started soon and roads’ repair would be done in parliamentarians’ constituencies. Federal Minister for P&D Asad Umar, PM’s Special Assistant on Youth Affairs Muhammad Usman Dar, provincial industries minister Mian Aslam Iqbal, Adviser to CM Dr Salman Shah, chief secretary, Chairman P&D, secretary finance and others attended the meeting.

CS-IGP: Chief Minister Usman Buzdar held a meeting with Chief Secretary retired Maj Azam Suleman and IGP Shoaib Dastgir at his office on Friday. The principal secretary to the CM was also present on the occasion.

An official handout claims the meeting discussed matters regarding administrative affairs, measures taken for providing relief to the people and the law and order situation of the province. The chief minister said the administration should work impartially with the support of the Punjab government. The meeting decided to take all necessary steps for providing relief to the people.

The chief minister directed initiation of crackdown against those involved in creating artificial price-hike throughout the province without any discrimination and continue operation against profiteers and hoarders.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2020