Coalition partners want more development funds


Upping the ante one day before the important meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), the coalition parties of the government presented their multi-billion rupee demands for inclusion in the next fiscal year’s public sector development programme along with tax incentive proposal for the federal budget.
A two member MQM parliamentary team led by Dr Nadeem Ahsan and including Abdul Rashid Godil held talks with Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and other senior officials. They demanded allocation for the Karachi Circular Railways, Motorway between Karachi-Hyderabad (M-9), Lyari Expressway and water supply project K-4. Talking to reporters after the meeting, Dr Nadeem Ahsan said the government had heard their demands and assured a considerate consideration, but no decision was taken. He said the final decisions would be made in negotiations on Thursday and the MQM team would be led by Dr Farooq Sattar.
An official source said all mentioned projects fell under the provincial domain other than M-9, but the MQM was still insisting the federal government finance the projects. He said considering the political situation, the government would have to give commitment for the projects and set some allocation to pacify its coalition partners. The government faces a similar pressure from the Awami National Party, which sent KP Chief Minister Amir Haider Hoti who stressed on a tax incentive package for the province for being at the frontline in the war against terrorism.
The government actually wanted to take back incentives given two years back to the province due to the improvement in law and order. However, Hoti stressed its continuation, claiming the province was still not out of the woods. Talking to reporters, he said they had asked for an incentive package for the province. He said they had raised the demand to uncap the net hydel profit from Rs 6 billion per annum limit imposed in 1990s. He said WAPDA had paid only Rs 2 billion to the province while Rs 4 billion for the current fiscal year was still pending.Uncapping of the net hydel profit is a major demand by KP, as it wants royalty on the basis of actual units of hydel power generated from the dams located in its jurisdiction.


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