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November 16, 2017

Long-delayed health project may get funds as net hydel profit issue resolved


November 16, 2017

Peshawar Institute of Cardiology

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf-led government may provide Rs2 billion to the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC) to purchase equipment as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would get funds as Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Wednesday resolved the issue of net hydel profits owed to the province by federal government.

High-ranking government officials in Peshawar told The News that the federal government owed Rs32.227 billion to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government in 2016-17 in lieu of the net hydel profit and other arrears.

The Council of Common Interests (CCI) and other relevant forums had repeatedly endorsed this amount, but the federal government failed to make payment to the KP government.

There were also reports that the PTI leadership, particularly Chief Minister Pervez Khattak didn’t play his role to raise the issue with the federal government.

Pervez Khattak’s strong criticism of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leadership, particularly former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, had also caused strain in his relationship with the federal government.

However, well-placed official sources said that efforts were made by different circles to reduce tension between the federal and provincial governments and for this purpose arranged a meeting of Pervez Khattak with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.

“And the good news is that the issue of net hydel profit has been amicably resolved as the federal government agreed to release Rs25 billion to the KP government by December 10, 2017 and the remaining amount in January and February 2018,” said the official on condition of anonymity.

It will help the KP government complete some crucial development projects in the province that had been pending for the past four years due to lack of funds.

Also, the sources said the PTI-government is planning to initiate more development projects in the province and improve its image in the public before next year’s election.

According to government officials, the issue of net hydel profit was finally resolved in a meeting with Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in Islamabad. Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Finance Minister Muzaffar Sayyid, Chief Secretary Mohammad Azam Khan and Secretary Finance Shakil Qadir attended the meeting.

Punjab finance minister Ayesha Ghous, federal and provincial secretaries finance and officials of Water and Power divisions were also present in the meeting.

The KP government is under criticism from its political opponents that it neither initiated new projects nor provided funds to old ones started by the previous coalition government of Awami National Party and Pakistan People’s Party.

After getting funds from the federal government, the KP government is expected to provide money for some important projects initiated years ago. One such project is the Peshawar Institute of Cardiology (PIC). 

It was proposed by the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal government in 2005, though it didn’t provide money for the project. Its building was mostly completed during the rule of ANP-PPP government.

The remaining building was accomplished during the PTI rule. The PTI-led government was expected to provide the required funds for purchase of equipment and hire staff to open it for patients by December 2016, but this didn’t happen.

Interestingly, the government after much delay notified the PIC’s Board of Governors (BoG), but had excused to provide funds for the project.

The government after forming the BoG told its members that it has no funds for the project and therefore they should not make any decisions or order purchase of equipment.

They were told that the provincial cabinet had principally agreed to provide funds for PIC, but made it conditional to availability of money.

A senior official of Health Department said there were now better chances that the PIC would get the required funds. “Let me share this good news with you. The provincial government will definitely provide funds to PIC if the federal government fulfilled its commitment and released funds by December 10, 2017,” he added.

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