PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa cabinet on Friday authorised Chief Minister Mahmood Khan to sign the memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding the fiscal responsibility of the federal and provincial government required under the economic bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund.

The cabinet met with the chief minister in the chair and ministers and administrative secretaries in attendance.

The federal government has agreed in the Memorandum of Economic and Fiscal Policies signed with the IMF recently to present a MoU signed by provincial governments to jointly provide around Rs750 billion cash surplus to the centre.

The KP government had conveyed to the federal government early last week that it would sign that MoU only if the centre accepted some of its demands, including the transfer of the Federal Sehat Sahulat programme for tribal areas along with its funding to it, funds for tribal districts, and regular payment of net hydel profit.

Cabinet asks centre to provide funds for ex-Fata health programme, ensure regular payment of net hydel profit

Ministers Taimur Salim Jhagra and Anwar Zeb Khan and spokesman for the government Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif later told reporters that the federal government, by withdrawing financial support, has deprived the people of tribal districts from the free treatment facility provided under the Sehat Sahulat Programme.

They said the centre had stopped monthly payments under the head of net hydel profit to the province since April 2022 and hadn’t responded to the province’s letter sent on June 29.

The ministers said agreement with the IMF was a collective responsibility but protecting the interests of the province was the government’s foremost responsibility, which would be fulfilled in any case.

“The people of tribal areas are our brethren, so they will not be deprived of free treatment facility,” a minister said.

He said the province hadn’t taken any decision about the signing of the MoU and didn’t want to play politics on the issue.

“The MoU will be signed as and when our concerns are addressed by the federal government,” he said.

The ministers said the federal government had been treating small provinces, especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, unfairly.

They said though the province had financial constraints, the chief minister had approved the continued management of the Sehat Card Plus programme with the help of own resources.

The ministers said necessary arrangements were being made on the orders of the chief minster to ensure that the Sehat Card scheme continues until the transfer of funds from the federal government.

The cabinet also declared 24,074 hectares (59,489 acres) area in South Waziristan tribal district as the Gomal Zam Dam Wetland Conservancy to protect wildlife resources and increase the population of targetted wildlife species.

According to officials, the site has great potential to provide habitats to the migratory as well as native birds and animals like wolf, jackal, jungle cat, rock pigeon, partridges, chukar, Eurasian sparrow hawk, common kingfisher, green bee-eater, and crested lark.

The cabinet also approved Rs29.389 million supplementary grant for the Evacuee Trust Property Board, Peshawar, to clear dues from 2001 to 22 on account of lease money of the Cereal Crops Research Institute, Pirsabak, Nowshera.

Published in Dawn, July 5th, 2022

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