Devolved ministries: Centre to bear expenses till June
By Amir Wasim
ISLAMABAD: The federal government will bear, till June next year, the expenses of the ministries and departments to be transferred to the provinces under the 18th Amendment.
According to sources, the decision was taken on Tuesday by the Parliamentary Commission on Implementation of the 18th Amendment after Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa expressed their inability to immediately arrange funds needed to run the ministries.
Similar reservations had been expressed earlier by the chief secretaries of Punjab and Balochistan, the sources said. The provinces are also concerned about the debt liabilities of the departments.
The commission headed by Senator Raza Rabbani reviewed the progress made by the provinces in implementing the constitutional clauses relating to provincial autonomy and discussed the hurdles in the way of devolution.
Members of the commission said the concerns expressed by the provinces were justified and decided that the federal government would bear the expenses for the current financial year of the functions and staff of the devolved ministries and departments.
The commission has decided to transfer five ministries – population welfare, youth affairs, special initiatives, local government and Zakat and Ushr – to the provinces this month.
Talking to Dawn, Senator Rabbani said: “Everything is going smoothly. The federal government and the provinces are on board on every issue and they all are taking these issues in the spirit of the 18th Amendment.”
He said any loophole in the implementation of the amendment would be overcome when the time came.
The next meeting of the commission will be held on Nov 15.