No probability of a 9th NFC

Senior economist and Balochistan’s technical member of the National Finance Commission Dr Kaiser Bengali has said that he does not see the 9th NFC Award materialising anytime soon.

He was speaking at the Third Consultative session on National Finance Commission (NFC) Award held at Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), in Quetta City.

Dr Kaiser Bengali stated that a critical impediment to the progress of talks on NFC Award is the reluctance of provinces to contribute towards the seven percent demanded by the federal government for the National Security Fund.

Dr Kaiser Bengali encouraged the discussion of new ideas and strategies and proposed that distribution mechanisms such as the inverse of the area under cultivation could be considered as criteria for determining the horizontal distribution of finances between the provinces.

Jehangir Khan Achakzai from the University of Balochistan opined that it is very unfortunate that Balochistan is being asked to contribute towards this federal fund for CPEC security.

He said that Balochistan already has too low of a share in the horizontal distribution of funds. He endorsed the idea that social indicators should be introduced as a criterion for the division of funds among the provinces.

Sana Durrani, the Balochistan member of the National Commission on the Status of Women said that entrepreneurship and private enterprise need to be strengthened to increase tax collection.

She stated that there is a need to formalise the informal economy so that Balochistan can enhance its own revenue generation.

Prof. Abdul Salam, Dean the School of Management Sciences at BUITEMS stressed that it is now common knowledge that Balochistan has enough natural resources that they alone can be used to provide for the whole of the country. But he also observed that in order to exploit those minerals and natural resources, the provincial government requires finances.

Dr Lodhi said that population is indeed an important criterion for the distribution of finances among provinces but other factors such as underdevelopment and poverty are also important.

Representing the Finance Department of the Balochistan government, additional secretary Wajihullah Kundi pointed out that the expenditure responsibilities of the provincial government have increased significantly after the passage of 18th constitutional amendment. He stated that the provincial government now has to bear the expenses of a number of departments that were previously under the purview of the federal government.

He said that in terms of area, Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan but its Annual Development Budget of Rs. 71 billion is but a small fraction of Punjab.

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