CCI re­spon­si­bil­i­ties

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

The Coun­cil of Com­mon In­ter­ests is an im­por­tant or­gan of the State. The re­cent meet­ing of the re­con­sti­tuted CCI dealt with a large num­ber of is­sues and re­solved most of them. The eight- mem­ber CCI is headed by the Prime Min­is­ter ( PM) and in­cludes the four pro­vin­cial Chief Min­is­ters ( CMs) and fed­eral min­is­ters for In­ter- Pro­vin­cial Co­or­di­na­tion, In­dus­tries and Pro­duc­tion, and Fi­nance. How­ever, in the present re­con­sti­tuted CCI, the rul­ing coali­tion has an over­whelm­ing ma­jor­ity, with Sindh CM Syed Mu­rad Ali Shah the only op­po­si­tion mem­ber. Amongst other is­sues taken up, the CCI meet­ing agreed on im­ple­men­ta­tion of the AGN Kazi for­mula for net hy­del prof­its. The for­mula has been a topic of dis­cus­sion in gov­ern­ment cir­cles for decades, but its non- im­ple­men­ta­tion has caused much ruc­tion amongst the prov­inces and be­tween the prov­inces and the Cen­tre.

Among other things, the CCI agreed to re­solve the Sind­hBalochis­tan wa­ter cri­sis by ask­ing the two CMs to set­tle the is­sue of short­age of wa­ter in the Pat Feeder and Kirthar Canals bi­lat­er­ally. The de­mand for an ad­di­tional 650 MGD for Karachi was re­ferred to the Na­tional Wa­ter Coun­cil to make rec­om­men­da­tions keep­ing in view the present wa­ter sup­ply sit­u­a­tion and a for­mula for wa­ter dis­tri­bu­tion among the prov­inces. Bet­ter ed­u­ca­tion fa­cil­i­ties, based on co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the Cen­tre and the prov­inces, and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a uni­form ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem across the coun­try were high­lighted and the Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Com­mis­sion was asked for its rec­om­men­da­tions within a month.

Prime Min­is­ter Im­ran Khan as­sured the CMs that the fed­eral gov­ern­ment would take them all on board to solve their prob­lems. He also ad­vo­cated a com­pre­hen­sive and trans­par­ent mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem for wa­ter dis­tri­bu­tion among the prov­inces to pro­vide ac­cu­rate and timely in­for­ma­tion, the ab­sence of which causes mis­un­der­stand­ings. The CCI re­viewed Balochis­tan's en­ergy, ed­u­ca­tion and health prob­lems. It set up a task force and a spe­cial com­mit­tee to im­ple­ment the de­ci­sions of all reg­u­la­tory bod­ies of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and main­tain a uni­form stan­dard of food items and their qual­ity through­out the coun­try.

A coun­try­wide clean­li­ness drive will be launched on Oc­to­ber 7, 2018. An­other task force was formed to re­view the de­vo­lu­tion of the Work­ers Wel­fare Fund and Em­ploy­ees Old- age Ben­e­fit In­sti­tu­tion to the prov­inces. Two sum­maries of the Min­istry of En­ergy on amend­ment to the Petroleum ( Ex­plo­ration and Pro­duc­tion) Pol­icy 2012 and im­port of LNG were re­ferred to the Eco­nomic Co­or­di­na­tion Com­mit­tee. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment an­nounced its in­ten­tion to bring forth the LNG im­port agree­ments signed by the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment.

The heavy agenda and de­lib­er­a­tions of the CCI in its very first meet­ing in­di­cate that there are a num­ber of left- over items for it to deal with, as well as new is­sues that keep crop­ping up. This high­lights the need for the CCI to meet reg­u­larly to defuse con­flicts and dis­agree­ments amongst the prov­inces and be­tween them and the Cen­tre. Given the fraught his­tory of the fed­er­a­tion, this is crit­i­cal. How­ever, a word of cau­tion would not be out of place here. Al­though the PTI en­joys power in the Cen­tre, Pun­jab and Khy­ber Pakhtunkhwa and is part of a gov­ern­ing coali­tion in Balochis­tan, it must not al­low this to go to its head.

PM Im­ran Khan's re­as­sur­ing words to the prov­inces are im­por­tant be­cause of the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal land­scape and the 18th Amend­ment that has de­volved many more pow­ers to the prov­inces. The del­i­cate re­la­tion­ship in the past be­tween the Cen­tre and the prov­inces has been ren­dered even more del­i­cate as a re­sult. Ad­her­ing to demo­cratic prin­ci­ples, ex­tend­ing re­spect to the peo­ple's man­date and re­spect­ing the en­hanced pro­vin­cial au­ton­omy is the only wise path for a smooth func­tion­ing of the fed­er­a­tion. And the CCI must be made ac­tive and ef­fec­tive to help forge con­sen­sus on prickly is­sues in the over­all in­ter­ests of the coun­try.

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