Final NFC award will please all parties, says Shaukat Aziz
LAHORE: The finance ministers of Sindh and Balochistan will meet to resolve the issue of Gas Development Surcharge (GDS) and hopefully by the next National Finance Commission (NFC) meeting in Islamabad on January 2, 2004, they will have positive results, Federal Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz told the press while standing on the stairs at the chief minister’s secretariat here on Saturday evening, after the second official meeting on the sixth National Finance Commission Award (NFC).
The minister said the provinces’ share of the federal divisible pool of revenue would be increased in the NFC Award, however how much would be decided after deliberating on the receipts and expenditure to be provided by all provinces at the next meeting. Mr Aziz promised that the final award would satisfy all parties.
Sources said the finance minister didn’t want to seat reporters and make them comfortable at a press briefing so that they wouldn’t ask ‘uncomfortable’ questions about the NFC’s plans.
All four provincial ministers, Syed Sardar Ahmed of Sindh, Sirajul Haq of NWFP, Syed Ahsan Shah of Balochistan and Sardar Hassnain Bahadur Dreshak of Punjab, - who was the host of the meeting - were standing behind him.
He said all the finance ministers were told at the meeting to prepare a document showing all receipts and expenditures sector-wise, including the development receipts and expenditure, for the next five years before the third NFC meeting. To prepare for the meeting they could consult the NFC Secretariat, he added.
Mr Aziz said the finance ministers informed him they had decided to increase the frequency of NFC meetings to every two or three weeks. After Islamabad, the next meetings would be held in Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar and in between in Islamabad as well.
The NFC Award had to be concluded by March 31, 2004, he added.
Asked if he was considering National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) proposals, he said, “We are not considering the NRB’s 50-50 share proposal.”
He said the hydro-electric power profit was not part of the NFC but it needed to be resolved soon, preferably before NFC’s deadline of March 31, because it was a parallel issue. Sindh’s finance minister said provinces would not make unjustified demands, indeed they would be in line with the federal resource base. The NWFP’s finance minister Sirajul Haq said the prosperity of Pakistan lay in the development of provinces and revolutionary economic steps were necessary.