PESHAWAR: The Senate’s Functional Committee on Devolution of Powers on Thursday asked the federal government to make due payments to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to strengthen the province’s economy.

The committee met at the cabinet room of the Civil Secretariat here with its head, Mushtaq Ahmad Khan, in the chair and members in attendance.

Committee members Haji Hidayatullah Khan and Nuzhat Sadiq said that the body would take up the “reservations and concerns” of the province with the federal government for resolution on a priority basis and in the interest of the people.

The committee chairman said that the objective of the meeting was to ensure effective and efficient utilisation of resources transferred to the provinces following the devolution.

Calls for effective utilisation of resources after devolution

He said that a briefing would be held for the committee about the progress made by 19 departments since their handover to KP due to the historic 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

Provincial chief secretary Nadim Aslam Chaudhry, additional chief secretary Zubair Asghar Qureshi and other administrative secretaries and officials attended the meeting.

The committee discussed various issues and challenges faced in the wake of 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

The chief secretary gave a detailed briefing to the committee members regarding the departments, their employees, assets and their utilisation in the post-devolution regime. He also shed light on the powers devolved to the province and their implementation at the grassroots level.

The committee members examined recommendations to make the Joint Interests Council more effective.

They also reviewed projects of the livestock, archaeology, tourism, sports, agriculture, irrigation and other departments.

The share of KP in the National Finance Commission, especially after the merger of Fata with it, the province’s net hydel profit payments outstanding with the centre as well as gas and petroleum arrears also came under discussion in the meeting.

The committee examined a delay in the provision of Rs100 billion promised funds to the merged tribal districts, the suspension of flour supply from Punjab to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the use of KP’s “excess” water by other provinces, and non-payment of money to KP, and issues related to the Chashma Lift Bank Canal, construction of dams, population census and other matters.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2023

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