Fata dists to get 3pc share from NFC Award

ISLAMABAD – The erstwhile Federally Administrated Tribal Areas will get three percent share under the National Finance Commission Award, the federal cabinet decided Thursday.

Briefing journalists after the cabinet meeting here, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry and Petroleum Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan said the share of the provinces will be reduced to facilitate the FATA people.

The petroleum minister said the cabinet has decided to renegotiate the agreements of the two Liquefied Natural Gas terminals installed by the PML-N government with the parties concerned due to high return on equity.

He said the return on equity in the agreement signed with Engro Company was 44 percent, which is double to the market rate, implying some under-hand deal. He said the return rate in the other terminal is 22 percent.

Khan said the LNG terminal agreements and LNG import deal with Qatar have brought the economy under stress.

The federal cabinet meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. Sources said the hike in gas tariff and other decisions taken by the Economic Coordination Committee were endorsed by the cabinet.

The meeting also discussed the government’s 100-day plan and formation of various task forces, the sources said. The cabinet was briefed about the Naya (new) Pakistan Housing Programme and. A 10-point agenda focusing on the country’s economic and political situation was discussed during the meeting.

Fawad said the FATA Secretariat will be abolished and all administrative matters of the area will be overseen by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Secretariat. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed to speed up the process of NFC Award.

This month, Prime Minister Imran Khan had reiterated the government’s resolve to complete the process for merger of the FATA with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Imran Khan said the government was also striving hard to place an effective local governance system in the tribal districts. “The tribal areas will be provided all-out facilities like other parts of the country,” he had said.

The government has already announced Rs100 billion uplift package for tribal districts. The merger of FATA and the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa took place through a constitutional amendment in the last days of the five-year term of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz-led government that ended on May 31. The process of transition is now being monitored by the PTI government.

Fawad said the cabinet had also decided to devise a new policy on arm licences. He said after the passage of 18th constitutional amendment, issuance of arm licences was responsibility of provinces; therefore, federal government will withdraw its appeal on this count from the Supreme Court.

The minister said the cabinet decided to establish a high-level committee on transformation of Karachi. He said Karachi Infrastructure Development Company Limited will be revamped to make it more effective in executing projects.

The minister said development of Balochistan was also top priority for the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf–led government.

He said the cabinet had decided to reduce the number of foreign visits of federal ministers by 33.3 percent. He said apart from foreign minister, no minister will have more than three visits abroad a year.

The minister said the prime minister took notice of the problems being faced by farmers of sugarcane. The cabinet decided to start the crushing season from 15th of next month in order to save farmers from losses.

He said provincial governments have been issued directions in this regard and chief ministers of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will meet with the prime minister soon to brief him on administrative steps on this issue.

Fawad said the cabinet decided to merge Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority into National Disaster Management Authority as ERRA was created for a specific purpose.

He said the employees of ERRA working in provincial offices will be accommodated in provincial offices of NDMA while the employees working in federal office will join the NDMA office in Islamabad.

About the International Monetary Fund programme, the information minister said the government required $12 billion to bring the economy out of the crisis. He said talks were underway with friendly countries and IMF for the purpose.

He said the government was enforcing a transparent system, which will attract huge investment.

On the recent by-elections, the petroleum minister said the elections were held in the most transparent manner. He said the previous governments had always influenced the by-elections to get desired results.


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