QUETTA: Provincial Minister for Planning and Development Hamid Achakzai has said that the people of the oppressed provinces should make joint efforts for claiming permanent sovereignty over their natural wealth and resources after the historic achievement of the 18th Amendment.
He was addressing the participants of a seminar titled ‘Valuing Natural Gas: Implications for Provincial Economies’, organised under the chief minister’s policy reform unit in collaboration with the UNDP Pakistan on Saturday.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that the country had been ruled for more than 60 years by the corrupt and dictatorial regimes and their nexus, which had given birth to a corrupt culture.
He urged the oppressed nationalities to forge joint efforts to take ahead the struggle that had been acquired by their party elders in the form of the 18th Amendment.
Renowned economist and researcher Haris Gazdar also gave a detailed presentation on the subject in which he elaborated that Balochistan was rich in natural resources, and emphasised the revision of the overall pricing mechanism of the natural gas.
He was of the view that data, statistics and figures were important worldwide in modern-day research, however, their importance increased manifold with regard to gas prices.
He said that after the 18th Amendment, the subject of gas and natural resources had been revised under Article 172(3), which clearly states that the federation is under the obligation to share the resources on the formula of equity which is a good track envisaged in the 18th Constitutional Amendment. “We are moving from centralisation to decentralisation and true spirit of federalism,” he added.
He emphasised the need for fixing the prices of gas for all the provinces on equitable terms, and added that the current prices should be fixed according to the ongoing formulas, applicable in the form of TOE (tons of oil equivalent) and Henry Hub average for the year, implacable for gas pricing in the US domestically.
“We can adopt them to save billions of rupees which we are providing in the shape of subsidies. As regards providing subsides, we still have not attained the maximum economic productivity, provided to the urea industry.”
He suggested that the cost-plus pricing should be elaborated in fixation of gas prices.
On the occasion, head of the chief minister’s policy reform unit, Dr Kaiser Bengali, said that everything had a value but the value that the provincial government was receiving in terms of gas prices is very low, or below the average. He emphasised that in the light of the 18th Constitutional Amendment, the federal government was under the obligation to revisit its existing policies by giving ownership to the provinces in the policies.
Speaking on the occasion, the coordinator to chief minister’s policy reform unit, Dr Ishaque Baloch, said that the federating units should jointly work to benefit from the real implications of the devolution process envisaged after the 18th amendment.
He said that the federal government should work to substantiate its commitments, which it had made to the Balochistan government.
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