ISLAMABAD: In a major development, the federal government has decided to revisit the National Finance Commission (NFC) award and 18th Amendment, a private TV channel reported on Sunday.
According to sources, the federal government has contacted several political parties for the key changes in the NFC award and 18th Amendment. Some political parties have assured support to the Centre for the changes in the NFC award and the 18th Amendment, added sources.
Meanwhile, Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has said some flaws have been noticed in the 18th Amendment. He said 18th Amendment was a step in right direction, but the process is incomplete yet as it gave powers to provincial governments, but the local governments are still powerless. He said problems cannot be resolved until the federal and provincial governments work in coordination.
Speaking in ‘Naya Pakistan’ programme of Geo News hosted by Shahzad Iqbal, Asad Umar said the Centre doesn’t want to take back any powers from provinces neither it is the war of powers. He said the Centre wants to work with provinces in coordination for development of the country. He said all the political parties must sit together to discuss the issue.
The minister said a secretariat of Council of Common Interests (CCI) was to be made after 18th Amendment, but the previous two governments did not set up such secretariat. However, he said, the federal cabinet has now decided to establish the CCI secretariat.
He said two meetings have been held over amendments to NAB Ordinance and opposition members were also part of that meetings. Meanwhile, the PPP Parliamentary Leader in the Senate Senator Sherry Rehman said 18th Amendment is a sacred part of the Constitution and is guarantor of an amicable relationship between the federation and its units.
Talking to The News/Jang Sunday from Karachi, she said the PPP had the distinction of sponsoring amendment like the original Constitution of 1973.
She brushed aside the impression that the PPP or any other opposition group was negotiating with the government to bring about an amendment to the 18th Amendment or change it in any manner.
She said it was incomprehensible as to why the ruling party was engaged in such useless kite-flying which was of no use. “There is no need for touching such sensitive subjects at this point in time. We are supposed to fight the coronavirus and protect the country and our people from the pandemics and the government was busy in rumour mongering which has no base,” she added.
Senator Sherry said the amendment could be a desire of the government alone but it’s not the time to ponder about it. The mechanism for constitutional amendment has been provided in the book and the government should understand and follow that, she added.
The NFC Award is a constitutional obligation. It is clearly indicated in the Article 160 of the “Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973” that it has been made mandatory for the government to compose NFC Award at an interval extending not more than five years for the amicable resource distribution among the federation and its respective units.
According to Article 160 of the Constitution, after every five years the president will constitute the NFC for a period of five years. Last year, President Dr Arif Alvi had reconstituted the ninth National Finance Commission (NFC) to formulate a new resource distribution formula between the Centre and federating units. The 18th amendment to Pakistan’s constitution (passed in 2010) provides the provinces with significant decision-making autonomy.