According to a report published in a prominent newspaper, the caretaker federal government has instructed all relevant ministries to finalize the proposal to share the costs of all the projected works with the provinces. It should be remember that in that regards the 18th constitutional amendment was passed unanimously in Parliament in 2010.
In fact required the repatriation of staff to their provinces of domicile who are currently serving in the disbanded ministries at the Center and whose ministries were dissolved and their work has been entrusted to the Ministry of Inter-Provincial Liaison for communication between the Federation and the provinces. Actually, all the matters in which the provinces and the federation need cooperation are probably being implemented by the fourth administration including the People’s Party, Muslim League (N), Tehreek-e-Insaf and the administration led by Shahbaz Sharif for 16 months.
It is to be remember that after the Eighteenth Amendment, very few matters were left to the federal government which required annual budget allocation along with staff salaries. While the provinces were awarded more resources in 2010 from the federal distributed pool. It should be noted that as per the 10th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, the devolved institutions have not yet developed their capacity to self-regulate. Clearly, both the constitutional amendment and the NFC Award within all political parties, reflects a consensus. Although Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was not in Parliament that time in the Federal and Provincial Assemblies in 2010 and therefore not a party to a true consensus. It is noteworthy that Shaukat Tareen, who served as the Finance Minister in the last year of the PTI government, was the creator of the 10th NFC Award.
Therefore, it can be said that Tehreek-e-Insaf was indirectly involved in it. It is notable that all the previous elected governments urged the provinces from time to time to share the cost of provincial projects and subsidies, but at that time the provinces refused on this basis stated that their balance sheet did not allow for it and hence they were unable to meet their share of these federally mandated expenses. It has traditionally relied on mega-project announcements as well as subsidies to garner political support in the provinces, especially where it was not in government, to build a vote bank. An economically viable proposition, however, one can only hope that these measures will be fully continued after next year’s general elections. Not only will they provide fiscal space for the government but they will also reduce the pressure of tax hikes and thus the burden on the common man to control the budget deficit, which has been unsustainable for the last four to five years. Critics deplore the fact that the directives have been issued by the Economic Committee, which is not its mandate and they believe the body is not representative of the people.
What needs to be kept in mind is that the APEX Committee is chaired by the Prime Minister or a member of the Executive and was established and empowered by the Shahbaz Sharif-led government. Therefore, its continuation under the caretaker administration makes it a legitimate high-level forum for taking policy decisions. Especially those approved by the previous administration and parliament. Therefore, it is reasonable to hope that if these decisions are taken and more importantly implemented during the caretaker period, the next elected government will be politically motivated. There will be a responsibility to take challenging decisions. So it is important for the caretaker government to pave the way for the upcoming administration to decentralize the departments. If present management succeeded in forming a platform for such great effort of human resource development it will be its great achievement. We hope caretaker prime minister Anwar-ul-haq Kakar and him team will take steps for the future development and prosperity of the country.