Thursday December 02, 2021

KP Assembly witnesses heated debate on federal excise duty on oil

July 29, 2020

PESHAWAR: A heated debate was witnessed in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Tuesday over the federal excise duty on oil and gas as the opposition criticized the government for its failure to raise the issue and secure the rights of the province.

Initiating the debate on his adjournment motion, Ahmad Kareem Kundi of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was producing 50,000 barrel of crude oil per day and its royalty as per the Constitution stood at Rs18 billion annually. He added that the province was generating more than 6,000 megawatts hydel power but unfortunately it was facing budget deficit and hours-long loadshedding. “What an irony it is that the province producing oil worth Rs200 billion is not given Rs18 billion as royalty,” he said.

The lawmaker said the provincial government had compromised on provincial rights and failed to take up the issue with the federal government. He said the opposition has prepared Rs1000 billion case of its arrears. Maulana Lutfur Rahman of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Inayatullah Khan of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Sardar Hussain Babak of Awami National Party (ANP), Sardar Yousaf of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Mir Kalam Wazir also spoke on the matter. They explained the issue with relevant sections and clauses of the Constitution along with the share of provinces producing or possessing mines, minerals and natural resources.

The legislators said the provincial government had either compromised on the rights of KP or was unable to get them. Inayatullah said even the chief minister of a province can requisition a meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI). He suggested passing a joint resolution from the assembly to give a message to the Centre. Reiterating the demand for formation of a parliamentary jirga, Sardar Hussain Babak said the opposition would cooperate with the government in seeking provincial rights, but it should take the initiative.

The people of the province would be compelled to snatch their rights, he said, adding that soon the joint opposition would devise its strategy for the purpose. He said KP had been deprived of projects being executed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Sardar Yousaf asked what prevented the KP government from getting its due rights as the same party ruled the province and the Centre. The meeting of CCI should be convened at the earliest to discuss the pending matters, he said, adding there should be no compromise on the rights of the province.

In his reply, Special Assistant to Chief Minister on Information and Local Government Kamran Bangash said the provincial government had raised the issue properly. He said most of the points were on the agenda of the meeting with the prime minister scheduled for August 6. The House adopted the Federally Administered Tribal Areas Development Authority Regulation (Repeal) Bill, 2020. Taking notice of the government officers absence from the gallery, Speaker Mushtaq Ghani ruled the list of such officers be sent to the chief secretary. He ruled that the ministers should ensure presence when questions were on the agenda about their departments. The House was adjourned till July 31.