PESHAWAR - The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with British Council Pakistan at an event organized in the Assembly Secretariat on Wednesday aiming at supporting provincial government to increase the effectiveness of parliamentary processes in KP Assembly.

The KP Speaker Asad Qaiser and British Council acting director Jim Booth were the signatories. The event was attended by ministers, MPAs and senior government officials, British Council staff and media.

The ‘Parliamentarians’ Capacity Building Programme’, is an 18-month partnership that aims to support the provincial government to increase the effectiveness of parliamentary processes in KP Assembly.

Furthermore, this project will significantly improve the capacities of MPAs and parliamentary and legislative processes to reinforce informed decision/policy-making in a more transparent and participatory way.

The British Council will help to strengthen the legislative body with skills, knowledge and trainings, utilizing high level and technical expertise from Scotland and United Kingdom.

Subsequently, 124 MPAs form KP Assembly will be made a part of extensive trainings and exposure visits to replicate best practices.

With support from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the British Council will also provide technical and part of financial assistance to develop a concrete programme framework, covering the thematic areas of good governance; legislative needs; e-governance; parliamentary practices and business rules; accountability procedures; understanding of working departments and legal drafting etc.

British Council Acting Country Director, Jim Booth said that British Council is thrilled to sign this MoU. “This formalises our commitment to working in partnership with the KP government. This programme is a major step forward with our work to support the people of KP and will create stronger links between the UK and Pakistan,” he said.

Speaker KP Assembly Asad Qaiser expressed his pleasure over the capacity building programme of the parliamentarians.

“After going through the pre-requisites and prelude of the programme, it is expected that our legislature will have better input from the parliamentarians that will benefit in resulting solid legislation and formulation of laws keeping in mind best practices coupled with local demands and history of this province,” he said.

He hoped that this practice would be carried forward to the coming assemblies and would go a long way with the able support of British Council Pakistan for which he appreciated the entire council’s staff and their counter parts abroad.

Meanwhile, KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak hoped that the training program to be initiated in collaboration with British Council will expose the lawmakers to best parliamentary practices. He also said that the training would enhance the effectiveness of parliamentary exercises in KP Assembly and equip the MPAs to have the capacity for informed decision-making through a participatory approach in a more transparent manner.

He said this after signing of MoU for training program of the KP parliamentarians in collaboration with the British Council here at the provincial assembly on Wednesday.

Khattak said his government had introduced a much needed agenda for good governance in the province and this need was supported by the required legislation. “Our parliamentarians needed to be exposed to the best parliamentary practices, rules of business and the process of accountability to ensure openness and transparency in the governance-related processes in the province.

The CM assured that the provincial government would continue to support the training programs for the parliamentarians so that they could get the kind of knowledge and expertise required for the reforms introduced by his government.

“The KP government has a reform agenda and these reforms are aimed at upgrading education, health and making legislation in the province”, he added.

The chief minister said that the trainings become more important when they start giving results and the knowledge gained in the training programs is transferred to the relevant and concerned sectors.

Separately, KP CM Pervez Khattak revealed that the provincial government was set to sign a cluster of schemes with Frontier Works Organization (FWO) on 1st August this year.

He said this during a meeting at CM House Peshawar on Wednesday. The meeting was attended by Senior Minister for Health Shahram Tarakai, provincial Minister for Energy Muhammad Atif Khan, Chairman EZDMC and other concerned quarters.

These clusters of schemes included three hydro power projects in Chitral that will produce 900MW electricity and one in Balakot having the capacity of producing 400MW electricity, two housing schemes in housing sector, oil refinery and the cement industry and some other projects to be initiated in the current fiscal year.

These projects would be undertaken under a joint partnership and if necessary, the provincial government would make necessary legislation to facilitate the expeditious implementation of these schemes.

The chief minister in his remarks directed the concerned quarters to make different packages of schemes as already negotiated with the Frontier Works Organization so that formal agreement with FWO could be concluded for the benefit of rapid development of the province.

After a lot of spade work, now KP is on the launching pad to take off in terms of speedy development. The developmental schemes would prove to accrue far reaching results for the most neglected people of the province.

Khattak said these schemes would create jobs, generates economic activities and would track the province towards rapid development.

The CM also directed to explore gems and jewellery and other mineral advantages and showcase them for foreign and domestic investment.

The chief minister also directed for the practical work on the establishment of different industrial estates to be established both in the background of CPEC, and the provincial governments own strategy to set up different types of industrial estates of small, medium and large scales industrial units in the province.

The ultimate desire is to have more employment opportunities, optimum utilization of available resources and getting maximum results in terms of overall development of the province, he said.

The chief minister also directed to categorize the commercial properties in the backdrop of the expansion of Hayatabad Industrial Estate and prepare a strategy to offer them to potential investors.

There would be four categories and the expansion will generate a lot of resources.

Khattak also directed to work on the merger of Board of Investment and EZDMC and move a summary to make a decision for the benefit of the province.