Taimur Jhagra said center wants KP to surrender Rs117bn in uplift funds
Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra, the finance minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said on Thursday that the centre had told the province not to use Rs117 billion that had been set aside for development projects in the province.
“In a letter, the federal government asked our [KP] government to sign an agreement to stop spending Rs117 billion,” the minister said in the provincial assembly while waving a piece of paper.
He said that the provincial government won’t sign that MoU.
Mr. Jhagra said he thought the International Monetary Fund didn’t know about the move by the federal government.
Minister says wanted MoU won’t be signed by the provincial government.
He asked both the treasury and the opposition to go to the house with a joint resolution against the centre for asking the province to give up such a large amount of money.
When talking about multiple cut motions, the minister said that the development projects in the province would end if the PTI government signed the MoU.
The minister didn’t say anything else about what the MoU said.
He also said that the federal government was not willing to give Rs5 billion to tribal districts.
Mr. Jhagra asked the federal government to give money for the Sehat Card and other plans to improve the former Fata.
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He asked the opposition benches to ask their central coalition government to call a meeting to talk about the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, the AGN Qazi formula, and the 2017 census.
Mr. Jhagra talked about the achievements of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government in the province over the last nine years. He said that in the last two years, more than 100 million people had used the Bus Rapid Transit service in Peshawar.
He said that if the government took away a subsidy for the BRT, it wouldn’t worsen the commuters’ money problems.
The minister said that another thing the PTI government had done well was to give Sehat Cards to 40 million people in the province. He said that the healthcare card system had helped about 8 million families. He said that big projects could be done with the help of the private sector. He said that the public-private partnership had been used to build the Swat Expressway and that it would also be used to finish the Peshawar-Dera Ismail Khan Motorway.
Earlier, the opposition MPAs criticised Chief Minister Mahmood Khan for not going to meetings of the National Economic Council and other constitutional forums.
Khushdil Khan, a member of the Awami National Party, said that those forums were very important, but that the provincial government was only represented by a bureaucrat.
He said that the federal government wouldn’t give money to the province if the chief minister didn’t show up at these kinds of meetings.
Ahmad Kundi, a member of the Pakistan Peoples Party, backed Khushdil Khan and said that the chief minister had moved away from the centre by not going to the NEC and other meetings. “The province will suffer if the chief executive doesn’t attend these meetings,” he said, adding that the province was already being denied its rights.
When he talked about his motion to cut, Opposition Leader Akram Khan Durrani said that the PTI government had taken out loans worth more than Rs3.87 trillion.
He said that when the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal was in charge, the province’s debts added up to Rs87 billion.
Mr. Durrani said that the new chairman of the National Accountability Bureau would take over the office in two weeks and start looking into projects like BRT and Billion Tree Tsunami, which is one of the PTI government’s biggest projects.
He said that in the last four years, the PTI government had not been able to get the Chashma Right Bank Uplift Canal project added to the federal PSDP.
The leader of the opposition said that JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman should get credit for adding the canal project to the PSDP, which would give the province enough food to feed itself.
He said that the KP government was responsible for 35% of the whole project.
Mr. Durrani said that the members of the opposition would not pull their motions to cut.
Earlier, the leader of the opposition criticised the chair, Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan, for being “hostile” to people from the opposition parties and asked him to change.
He asked the chair to give the opposition members enough time to say what they thought about the next budget.
The deputy speaker said he wouldn’t take orders, so no one should try to put pressure on him.
He said that the assembly would follow the rules, and the budget should be approved by the assembly before June 30. When the chair spoke, there was a lot of noise in the room, and the opposition members started shouting slogans.
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