LAHORE – Four provincial Finance Ministers are meeting here on Monday (today) to do the spadework on the 8th National Finance Commission Award due since 2015, it has been learnt.

Punjab Minister for Finance Ayesha Ghous Pasha is chairing the meeting which will also be attended by Finance Secretaries from the four provinces.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah is attending this meeting in his capacity as provincial Finance Minister.

“It is a preliminary meeting of the working group to firm up proposals for a new resource sharing formula among the centre and the federating units”, an official source told The Nation, adding, that provinces have been given an opportunity to get down the nitty- gritty before the final meeting with the Federal government.Of late, there has been much hue and cry from the smaller provinces to announce the 8th NFC award.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah also met Finance Minister Ishaq Dar last month to press for the need for a new resource sharing arrangement between the centre and the provinces.

Sindh and KPK governments believe they are not getting their due share of resources from the centre due to delay in the constitution new NFC Award.

The last NFC Award on centre-provincial revenue sharing expired on June 30, 2015, but the Federal government extended the same for another year.

Officials in the Federal Finance Ministry have been blaming the provincial governments for the delay as they failed to complete the preliminary work assigned to them well before time.

The provinces, on the other hand, have been laying the responsibility on the federal government which, according to them, did not show any interest in holding even the mandatory quarterly meetings of the NFC.

Smaller provinces have also held Punjab government responsible for delay in the constitution of 8th NFC award. No meeting of the National Finance Commission could take place in the first quarter of 2015 as the commission had become incomplete after Punjab’s private member Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha was elevated as provincial Finance Minister.

To prevent the NFC meeting to discuss the new financial award, the Punjab took more than five months to nominate her replacement.

It merits mention here that at the time of constitution of 7th NFC award, Punjab had sacrificed its due share and given it to the smaller provinces to evolve consensus over the resource sharing formula.

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