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Provinces unwilling to support PM’s development package

Provinces unwilling to support PM’s development package

ISLAMABAD: The provinces of Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, which are run by two major opposition parties, have held back their support for the federal government’s three-year development package called Wazeer-e-Azam Qaumi Taraqiati Programme 2016-18, considering it a political move.

According to officials, the provinces, especially Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, are unwilling to cooperate with the central government as they believe the package is part of the election campaign aimed at winning over a large number of voters.

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Under the package, the government has eased criteria for providing electricity to the villages.

The implementation of Prime Minister’s Sustainable Development Goals Programme or the Wazeer-e-Azam Qaumi Taraqiati Programme had been approved by the cabinet in its meeting on August 31, 2016.

In the huddle, the cabinet was apprised that provincial governments had been invited to join the development programme and share their resources in order to achieve the sustainable development agenda.

The central government will equally provide funds for schemes under the package such as electricity, gas, natural resources and social sector projects. These will be launched after comprehensive policy guidelines are framed.

However, following resistance from the provinces, the cabinet in its meeting about a week later on September 9, chaired by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, emphasised that the development programme should not be politicised as it had no links with the parliamentarians and was purely a development package with clear focus on addressing basic needs of the common man.

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The cabinet members suggested that a mechanism may be established to encourage the reluctant provinces to become part the programme. It was also suggested that solar power projects should be launched in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

It was decided that more deliberations should be held on implementing the programme to make it more effective.

The federal government was of the view that the development package would not bear fruit without involvement and support of the provinces. Provincial departments may not fully cooperate in executing the schemes in the absence of active involvement of the provinces, it said.

Under the plan, the provinces will have to bear recurring expenses of different schemes. Many of the proposed infrastructure projects are within the provincial domain and it will be appropriate to launch them in consultation with the provinces.

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The minimum financial outlay of individual schemes will be Rs2.5 million while projects costing more than Rs30 million will be sent for consideration of the prime minister. Only new schemes with no previous source of funding will be executed under the programme.

At least 15 residents of an area or a civil society organisation will request for intervention in the identified sectors. The request will be sent to the commissioner of federal executing agency concerned for conducting a technical feasibility study and making cost estimates.

Courtesy : Express Tribune



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