Govt proposes PA panel on payments’ denial by centre

Updated 12 Aug 2020

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The minister said the provincial government would take up the issue of the monthly payment of NHP with Prime Minister Imran Khan again during his visit to the province. — DawnNewsTV/File
The minister said the provincial government would take up the issue of the monthly payment of NHP with Prime Minister Imran Khan again during his visit to the province. — DawnNewsTV/File

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Tuesday proposed the formation of a joint parliamentary committee to help the province claim outstanding payments, including excise duty on oil and net hydel profit, from the centre.

Responding to questions in the provincial assembly regarding arrears of net hydel profit, excise duty on oil and liquefied petroleum gas and related issues, finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said a parliamentary committee having representation of all parties should be formed.

“This cross-party forum could help formulate the province’s strategy for taking up the issue of the dues’ payment with the centre,” he said.

The minister said the committee would be briefed by the relevant departments, while its members could give input on those issues.

Minister tells assembly monthly hydel profit payment to be discussed with PM

“We need a joint parliamentary committee to understand these issues,” he said.

Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan, who was in the chair, asked the minister to table a motion in the house for the purpose.

He said the proposed motion should include the names of panel members and its terms of reference.

Mr Jahgra said the issue of net hydel profit payment to the province in line with the AGN Kazi committee’s formula was taken up in the last meeting of the Council of Common Interest and that currently, a committee having three members representation from the province was looking into the issue.

He said the centre had to pay Rs35 billion as the outstanding NHP.

The minister said the provincial government would take up the issue of the monthly payment of NHP with Prime Minister Imran Khan again during his visit to the province for the inauguration of the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) later this week.

“These issues can be resolved through the process of engagement,” he said.

The minister informed the house that the federal government had agreed to implement windfall levy on petroleum production.

In response to a question of Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal lawmaker Inayatullah Khan regarding the imposition of federal excise duty on wellheads, the finance department said the provincial government had raised the issue on several occasions.

It said the province had proposed the imposition of excise duty amounting to Rs1,000 per barrel and also tried to take the issue to the CCI but the forum didn’t discuss it.

The department said the windfall levy would be paid to the provincial government by the centre after its imposition.

It, however, said the ratio of federal excise duty on oil had yet to be determined.

The department said petroleum levy was not part of the federal divisible pool.

Another MMA lawmaker, Mian Nisar Gul, said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa produced around 1,000 tons of liquefiedpetroleumgas but the federal government didn’t pay excise duty on it.

He suggested that the government ask the centre for the payment of excise duty on LPG.

Law and parliamentary affairs minister Sultan Mohammad Khan rejected the reservations of the opposition Awami National Party’s members about the appointment of the chairpersons of the district Zakat committees and said appointments had been made on merit.

He said the government didn’t interfere in those appointments and asked the deputy commissioners to nominate a panel of eligible candidates.

“The provincial Zakat council has been empowered to select the chairperson of the committee,” he said.

Through a privilege motion, member of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party Nighat Yasmin Orakzai said 35 senior bureaucrats had been illegally allotted residential quarters.

She said 120 of the total of 244 official houses lied vacant.

The lawmaker said a serving officer had been allotted a house on Khyber Road, while Rs6 million was spent on its renovation.

She alleged that the estate officer of the administration department was hand in gloves with bureaucrats on the matter.

Minister Sultan Khan suggested that the motion be referred to the house’s standing committee on administration for detailed discussion.

He said the lawmaker had already submitted a question on the issue.

The assembly passed the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Trust Bill, 2020, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Co-operative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2020, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Waqf Properties (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The chaired later prorogued the session.

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2020