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June 3, 2019

CM orders inclusion of uplift projects for tribal districts in ADP

Peshawar

June 3, 2019

PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has directed the Planning and Development Department to include mega development projects for the newly-merged districts in the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the financial year 2019-20.

An official handout said that he was chairing the final consultative meeting on the Annual Development Programme 2019-20.Speaking at the meeting, the chief minister said the government was committed to resolving the longstanding issues of the tribal people.

Mahmood Khan directed the officials to speed up the development activities in the tribal districts and include the construction of a university and colleges in the ADP 2019-20 for the merged districts.

Senior Minister Atif Khan, Minister for Finance Taimoor Saleem Jhagra, Minister for Information Shaukat Yousafzai, Minister for Local Government Shahram Khan Tarakai, Minister for Revenue Shakeel Khan, Special Assistant to CM on Industries Abdul Karim, Chief Secretary Muhammad Saleem Khan, Additional Chief Secretary Shehzad Bangash, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Shahab Ali Shah and other officials attended the meeting. The chief minister was informed that the Auqaf Department has allocated Rs3 billion for the mainstreaming of madrassas whereas Rs1.27 billion have been allocated for the uplift and welfare of the minority communities. The chief minister also approved increasing the welfare package for minorities from Rs10 million to Rs30 million which will cater to the healthcare needs, widows and marriage grants of minorities.

Mahmood Khan was informed that a total of Rs150 million would be allocated for capacity building and skill development of students in Madrassas whereas for the first time, allocations have been made for equipping these students with technical education.

The chief minister directed the officials to include a scheme of financial scholarship for students of madrassas in the province.The chief minister directed the meeting to complete ongoing development schemes related to prisons in the province on priority basis, adding that the purpose of development schemes should not be focused on expansion and constructing unnecessary infrastructure but should rather be focused on efficient utilisation of resources and services delivery.

The chief minister further directed to complete the drinking water supply schemes in Karak city by the end of the ongoing fiscal year on priority basis. Additionally, the chief minister directed to conduct feasibility study for the establishment of Emergency Services Academy in Peshawar in addition to establishment of four rescue centres in Shangla, Malakand, Kohistan and Lakki Marwat.

The meeting was informed that establishment of tourist zones for attracting national and international tourists in the province have been included in the ADP 2019-20 to boost tourism in the province.The chief minister directed that financial and development planning should be focused on services delivery instead of unnecessary expansion of projects which yield no results in terms of providing services to citizens.

Mahmood Khan directed the departments to undertake pragmatic steps for rationalization of their Annual Development Programmes.

The meeting was informed that a total of 234 developmental projects were due for completion in the ongoing fiscal year which will have a significant impact on the life of the people. The meeting was briefed in detail about the development projects to be undertaken during the upcoming fiscal year.

Meanwhile, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has said the greatest question of national importance now was to share responsibility for creating development parity for the citizens of erstwhile Fata who lost 50 years of development due to neglect since Pakistan’s independence.

In a statement, he said the nation owes it to its Fata citizens to right the past wrongs by offering them complete citizenship in the wake of its merger and integration with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). “It’s an occasion waiting to be converted into an opportunity, leading to national destiny through a timely and appropriate decision,” he argued.

Mahmood Khan noted that the mean spending in the last decade in Punjab, Sindh, KP and Balochistan under the National Finance Commission (NFC) transfers remained at levels well above Fata and in some cases twice the per capita spending in Fata. He said presently 0.45 million children were out of school in the merged tribal districts, road connectivity was 0.26 km per square km and maternal mortality at 375 mothers dying during childbirth was one of the highest in the world.

Arguing that Fata had suffered due to underfunding, the chief minister maintained that the total size of the underfinancing of Fata over the past seven decades was at least Rs2,639 billion. “All along, the residents of Fata have continued to bear a proportionate burden of the indirect taxes that in turn contribute 60 percent of total national revenue at the federal level,” he pointed out. “Only in recent years, FATA received Rs50 billion of public expenditure per year but received only Rs50 billion or much less of financing for public services. Given the accumulated lag in spending, it has missed almost 50 fiscal outlays, 50 fiscal years of development,” he added.

Chief Minister Mahmood Khan lamented that though Fata merged with KP in May 2018, the latter during the current 2018-19 fiscal year did not get its constitutional share in NFC transfers as the population, poverty related needs and thinly spread population of Fata have not been included in computing KP’s share in the transfers.

“Compared with the German example of spending 6.5 percent for the greater cause of integration, if Pakistan decides to spend Rs100 billion per year to bring human development and public services in Fata closer to the rest of Pakistan, it will only amount to 0.002 percent of GDP,” the chief minister pointed out.

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