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ISLAMABAD: The three percent share of the erstwhile Fata in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award was not commensurate with the region's current population strength as well as the scale of development challenges.

This was observed by the members of the National Assembly Special Committee on erstwhile Fata, which vowed to accelerate development of the merged districts and eliminate hurdles to the region's structural transformation and good governance.

The Chairman of the Committee, MNA Junaid Akbar, remarked that the region's inclusive economic development requires policy coherence and coordination among all the stakeholders at all levels.

He highlighted that leadership of all the political parties would be taken onboard to develop a consensus "beyond partisan lines" on the desired reforms and developmental initiatives in the newly-merged districts.

He made these remarks, while presiding the 2nd meeting of the Special Committee on erstwhile Fata on Thursday.

The meeting was convened to adopt ToRs submitted by the sub-committee.

The chairman remarked that exhaustive ToRs lay the foundation for the Committee to ensure that all the commitments made to the people of the region are implemented in letter and spirit.

The Committee unanimously adopted the Terms of Reference submitted by the Sub-Committee.

The chairman of the Committee explained that the formation of the Committee was rooted in the desire to facilitate the social, political, administrative and economic transformation of the newly-merged districts.

It was unanimously recommended that timely provision of the region's due share at three percent in the NFC award must be ensured as a prerequisite for the accelerated development of the erstwhile tribal belt.

Several members highlighted that even the share in the NFC award was not commensurate with the region's current population strength as well as the scale of development challenges.

It was recommended that the issue of the NFC award and the denial of due share of the newly-merged districts should be taken up in the next meeting on priority basis.

The members regretted that post-merger administrative system of the newly-merged district is the reincarnation of the same old pre-merger system without any meaningful change or any benefit to the inhabitants of the region and stressed on the need to revamp the governance system.

It was stressed that the committee should play a lead role in developing and overseeing the region's developmental plan and in close coordination with the provincial and federal government, must ensure that all the spending is in line with the developmental plan. The ToRs also underlined the need for greater role for the elected representatives in facilitating economic development.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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