LAHORE – A two-day consultative meeting to discuss working groups’ recommendations for the 9th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award started here at Lahore Civil Secretariat on Monday.
Provincial Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha represented Punjab, while Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Muzaffar Syed, finance secretaries of all the provinces, NFC members and the federal government’s representatives attended the meeting.
At the inaugural ceremony, Dr Ayesha said that in the maiden meeting of the Award held last year, the federal government for the first time had divided the provinces into four working groups for separately preparing reports on resource mobilisation, estimation of expenditures, tax structure, subsidy and rationalization of grants.
“All the provinces have now completed their respective tasks,” she added.
In Monday’s session, Additional Secretary (Budget) Saifullah Dogar presented Punjab’s report on ‘Resource Mobilisation’, which all the working groups endorsed.
Later, Sindh’s representative read out a report on tax structure at the federal and provincial levels.
Addressing the meeting, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that the NFC Award was a constitutional responsibility, and asserted that the next budget should be based on the new NFC Award.
“Keeping in view the experiences of the 7th NFC Award, recommendations for the new Award should be finalised as early as possible,” he emphasised.
The Punjab finance minister said that the NFC was the lifeline of the provinces, adding that recommendations, having the consent of all the stakeholders, would be made part of the final report, while rest of the suggestions would also be attached so as to convey these to the federal government.
She added that Punjab’s working group, in its report, had kept in view the ground realities while analysing and subsequently giving recommendations for revenue targets.
KP Finance Minister Muzaffar Syed termed consultative meeting by Punjab a good omen and said that it would help ensure fast progress on the 9th NFC Award.
In the end, the meeting also offered Fateha for martyrs of recent terrorist attack in Mardan and prayed for early recovery of those injured in the blast.