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The Caretaker Chief Minister has in principal agreed to the authorization of budgetary proposals for an interim period of four months (2018-19) to be tabled to the provincial cabinet for final approval in its next sitting.

The Caretaker Chief Minister Justice(R) Dost Mohammad Khan has in principal agreed to the authorization of budgetary proposals for an interim period of four months (2018-19) to be tabled to the provincial cabinet for final approval in its next sitting. This was decided by the Caretaker Chief Minister while presiding over pre-budget meeting at Chief Minister Secretariat Peshawar. He cut down his discretionary and secret fund making it subject to the scrutiny of the cabinet and asked the quarter concerned to propose the rationalization of the fund adding that the Chief Minister should first set an example of being disciplined that would be followed by the ministers and the bureaucracy. The meeting was attended by Provincial Minister for Finance Abdur Rauf Khan Khattak, Additional Chief Secretary Shehzad Bangash, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Shahab Ali Shah and Secretary Planning and Development. The meeting had detailed deliberations on the proposed budgetary proposals and the developmental schemes reflected in the new ADP 2018-19. The Caretaker Chief Minister formally agreed to the 10% raise in salaries and pension of the provincial government employees. The meeting was given a detailed presentation on the mode of federal transfers to the province, the status of AGN Qazi formula and the net hydel power share and gas royalty of the province. The meeting also discussed the provincial own receipts and the grey areas for widening the base of provincial tax collection. Addressing the pre budget meeting, the Caretaker Chief Minister directed for the efficient utilization of resources discouraging the mis directed and wastage of resources and the resources incurred thus could be diverted to the overall development and public welfare of the province. He said that the practical implementation on the AGN Qazi formula, endorsed by the President through a presidential order and even owned by the relevant quarter would jump up the provincial share on the net hydel power. The Supreme Court’s Verdict legitimized the provincial claim but the provincial government should have the capacity to discover the scope of the verdict and should have got the full advantage of the decision of the superior judiciary. AGN Qazi formula, he added was the permanent solution of a long struggle of the province for the establishment of its claims. Mr. Justice (Rtd) Dost Muhammad Khan said that the emerging scenario after the seven merged districts of the erstwhile FATA, posed multiple challenges. These challenges included the implementation on financial plan of the federal government for the expeditious mainstreaming of tribal of the merged seven districts. This province was short of resources to undertake such a huge task of an overall reconstruction and rehabilitation plan because of the meager, the resources available for the much needed infrastructure development and the overall rehabilitation and reconstruction plan for efficient services in the merged districts. The infrastructure in the merged areas was destroyed by different calamities dominated by the manmade. Mainstreaming the tribal would continue to be at the top of provincial government priorities. The provincial government should plan the extension of different public sector institutions to the merged areas in order to start giving relief to the people. He said he was heading a task force that will sketch out a clear road map for the mainstreaming of tribal and extension of services of different public sector institutions. The major challenge to the province in the foreseeable future will be to access the inaccessible areas of the merged districts for extension of basic and efficient services to the locals. He directed to plan a short, mid and long term planning for the efficient management of merged areas. The challenges before the province for the merged areas would be political integration, financial and security cover, the infrastructure development and the removal of legal anomalies. His government would send a set of recommendations to the federal government for the identification of the responsibilities, the delivery of responsibilities and the security related mechanism, he went on saying. He also called upon the officials to identify the weaknesses in the tax collection exercise and assure for remedial measures. His government would give recommendations for the future development, reducing unemployment, improving the financial health of the province and the overall developmental guidelines to the coming government. We would leave behind a strong blue print for good governance, he added. He also directed to plan a university on two merged districts and four professional colleges along with the feeding schools. He said that the merged districts have their own advantages and those advantages would be tagged and exploited for the benefit of the tribal. Caretaker Chief Minister directed to enhance its tax collection network. His government having a time tagged mandate for the transparent and free elections, would give the future guidelines for widening the revenues generation. This province was short of resources and heavily dependent on federal transfers. However, this province has a lot of potential in almost all sectors. The only problem is the capacity to enhance productivity and tapping the potential advantages of the province. He called upon the relevant quarters for the early completion of projects in energy, agriculture and other productive sectors. Simultaneously efforts should be made to enhance revenue generation through a policy of reward and punishment. This approach will pay. The efficient in the public sectors would enhance their efficiency even further and the inefficient would become isolate, he added. Regarding the exploration of tourism and agriculture sectors as a source of revenue generation, Dost Muhammad Khan directed to plan the promotion of different scenic spots on tourism lines and the tourists would flood to such areas, he assured. He said that food autarky should be the ultimate target of the agriculture sector adding that the department should go for modern crops growing techniques by giving education and training to the farmers that would enhance the productivity in the agriculture sector. He was not satisfied with the five per cent “Abiana” collection and directed to enhance through a capacity building plan of the officials. He also agreed to the promotion of different scenic spots on tourism lines and hoped that these spots would not only stabilize the local economy but would also feed the provincial economy as well. He urged for the provision of pure drinking water, construction of industries and small dams in FATA.