Disparity found in funds distribution to districts in last five years

Dawn

PESHAWAR: A huge disparity has been detected in the distribution of funds among the districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in the annual development programmes during the last five years of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government, show the official documents submitted to the provincial assembly’s secretariat.

The disparity was starkly visible in the allocation of funds of the home district of former chief minister, influential ministers and former assembly speaker, while other districts having no influential representatives in the assembly were entirely ignored in ADPs.

Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal MPA Inayatullah Khan disclosed the gap in the funds allocation in the assembly on Tuesday while initiating debate on the criteria for the purpose.

Minister tells PA that treasury, opposition to discuss formula for ADP allocation in next fiscal

Speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani chaired the sitting.

“The lowest budgetary allocations went to Tank, one of the most underdeveloped districts, as it received only Rs328 million from the last five ADPs compared to Nowshera, the home district of former chief minister Pervez Khattak, which got over Rs19 billion in five years,” said Inayatullah quoting the figures of the planning and development department.

Opposition leader Akram Khan Durrani protested the absence of the chief minister and ministers from the proceedings and refused to initiate debate on the ADP allocations.

He said the continuous absence of the chief minister and ministers showed that the government did not have any regard for the house.

“When Prime Minister Imran Khan does not attend parliament’s sessions, how one can expect punctuality from the chief minister and his ministers to participate in the assembly business,” he said.

Responding to the opposition’s grievances, Speaker Ghani asked ministers to attend the sitting regularly.

“I request you (ministers) to come to the assembly and participate in the discussion,” he said warning that he would send the sheet showing the attendance of the ministers and ruling party MPAs to Prime Minister Imran Khan for action.

He said the collective responsibility didn’t mean that only two or three ministers would come to the assembly.

Mr Inayatullah, who has affiliation with the Jamaat-i-Islami, had served as a senior minister in the last Pervez Khattak-led provincial government.

The mover said no formula or mechanism existed to ensure equitable distribution of ADP funds to districts.

“Might is right is the only formula for the allocation of funds in the province,” he said, adding that the underdeveloped and remote districts had been ignored, while influential persons got the lion’s share in the ADP for their respective constituencies.

The documents show that Peshawar had been allocated Rs57 billion, Mardan, the home district of sitting senior minister Atif Khan, Rs11 billion, Swabi, the home district of former assembly speaker Assad Qaisar, Rs10 billion, Swat Rs15 billion and Abbottabad Rs6 billion.

The districts, which have been neglected in ADPs during the last five-year tenure of the PTI government, include Battagram, which was allocated Rs446 million, Lakki Marwat Rs972 million, Karak Rs1.8 billion, and Kohistan Rs1.8 billion.

Mr Inayat said the superior court had struck down the block allocation in the ADP but the practice had not been abandoned.

He said the PTI in its 100 days plan had promised to address disparity in the allocation of funds for development schemes, but the promise wasn’t fulfilled.

The lawmaker asked the government to give strategic direction for the equitable distribution of funds.

He warned the government over around Rs500 billion throw-forward liabilities, which show that a scheme would be completed in five to six years.

The lawmaker asked the government to justify the recent re-appropriation of Rs1.2 billion from other districts to Swat, the hometown of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan.

He sought details of the province’s share in the public sector development programme and foreign assistance received during the last five years.

Awami National Party MPA Khushdil Khan while taking part in the debate said the government should work out a formula for the judicious distribution of funds to districts.

He said the government should seek proposals from lawmakers irrespective of their political affiliation before preparing the next budget.

Mr Khushdil said the provincial government had allocated Rs1.9 billion for the implementation of the ruling PTI’s first 100 days plan without giving details, while additional Rs100 million was allocated from the district ADP for the plan.

Senior minister Atif Khan said the previous governments, including the PML-N’s, had allocated funds for the respective ruling party MPAs and ignored the constituencies of the opposition members.

Food minister Qalandar Khan Lodhi said the government believed in the equitable distribution of ADP and would work out a formula for the next budget.

He said the treasury and opposition would meet on Wednesday to discuss ADP allocation formula for districts.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Land Acquisition (Mines) (Amendment) Bill, 2019, was introduced in the assembly.

The chair later adjourned the sitting until 1:30pm Wednesday (today).

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