KP cabinet takes decisions about wheat procurement, health, education

PESHAWAR  -  The Khyber Pakh­tunkhwa Cabinet met un­der the chairmanship of Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur on Wednesday and took several deci­sions about energy pro­duction, education, food security, procurement of wheat, and sustainable development and issues related to the day-to-day affairs of the province.

The cabinet approved the rehabilitation and restoration of the 17-megawatt (MW) Ran­olia Hydropower Project in Kohistan Lower. The Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) had already approved the project at a cost of Rs8.1 billion with the condition that the same will be pro­cessed for the approval of the provincial cabinet for inclusion as non-ADP scheme. The cabinet ap­proved its inclusion as non-ADP scheme and its financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank.

The cabinet also ap­proved acquisition of 327 kanal land for 88MW Gabral Kalam Hydro­power project being fi­nanced by the World Bank in district Swat. The provision of the re­vision already existed in the approved PC-1 of the project. On commission­ing the project is expect­ed to generate over Rs7.4 billion incomes per year for the Province.

It also approved the ad­ditional compensation in respect of land and built-up property based on an independent valuation study for executing the 300MW Balakot Hydro­power project on Kunhar River Mansehra. The en­hancement of this com­pensation (Rs286.362 million) is in line with the recommendations of the consultant (M/S Ander­son Consulting Services), the welfare of the people of the area, and ensuring a friendly environment for engineers and work­ers at the project site. It has been estimated that once commissioned this amount will be recovered within four days from the income generated from this project.

The cabinet approved the shifting of manual registration books to au­tomated motor vehicle registration smart cards. The Excise and Taxation Department had already signed MoU with the Na­tional Security Printing Company (NSPC) of the federal government for the provision of regis­tration certificates and supply of smart cards in 2022. The rates of such registration and cards will be Rs574 as com­pared to Rs1475 of Is­lamabad, Rs530 Punjab and Rs1600 Sindh.

The cabinet also ap­proved utilisation of the funds of the defunct FATA Development Au­thority amounting to Rs500 million and Rs43 million accumulated mark up over it under the accelerated imple­mentation programme in the merged districts. Small enterprises will be microfinance on an inter­est-free basis (Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance) from this revolving fund in the merged districts.

It also approved the ac­quisition of over 34 kanal land for the construction of the Judicial Complex at Panah Kot Upper Dir.

The cabinet approved enactment of Khyber Pa­khtunkhwa Registration of Godown Rules 2022 as required by the KP Godown Registration Act 2021. The Act provides for the registration and regulation of Godowns ensuring a comprehen­sive system regarding the stable supply and availability of goods and for matters connected therewith.

The cabinet approved provision of free and quality education from class 7th to 12th for tal­ented students of gov­ernment schools of the province in quality edu­cation institutions of the province.

On the proposal of the Chief Minister, the cab­inet decided to dou­ble both the amount of monthly scholarship and the number of such tal­ented poor beneficiary students of the scheme from the next academic year. The cabinet also di­rected to ensure no stu­dent is left without ed­ucation because of the non-availability of text­books and related fa­cilities. It also directed that a study be conduct­ed to compare the qual­ity and cost of the text­books published by the government and private sector. The utilisation of old textbooks was also approved in the larger interest of the people of the Province.

The cabinet condition­ally approved the pro­posal of establishing the National Industrial De­velopment and Regu­latory Authority (NI­DRA) as required under the constitution to ena­ble the federal govern­ment to unify all the en­tities like Economic Zones – Special Econom­ic Zones (SEZs), Tax Free Zones, Integrated Tour­ism Zones (ITZs), Special Technology Zones (STZs) and Expert Processing Zones (EPZs). It is worth mentioning that a work­ing group set up by Spe­cial Investment Facilita­tion Council (SIFC) for SEZs chaired by Chair­man Privatization Com­mission had proposed the unification of all the above entities.

However, such unifica­tion will as per the con­stitution require the pro­vincial government’s approval and entrust­ing its authority uncon­ditionally to the federal government. After this approval, the aforemen­tioned NIDRA will under the executive and legis­lative authority assume all roles to the extent of zones, required to es­tablish, regulate, devel­op, operate, and manage them under the NIDRA law. All roles of federal entities will be shifted to NIDRA as per the provi­sions of its law.

Though almost all the above entities have been originally established under federal legislation but the present approv­al was given with the ex­press condition that “the incentives extended un­der SEZ, EPZ, & STZA shall be brought under the umbrella of a sin­gle organization to facil­itate investors. The op­erations, management & administrative control of the zones and industri­al estate should remain with provinces for better facilitation of investors.”

After a threadbare dis­cussion, the cabinet ap­proved he procurement of 600,000 metric tons of wheat for the cur­rent year. The rate of 40kg wheat was fixed as Rs3900 just like the rate of the federal, Punjab and Balochistan govern­ments. It was also decid­ed that the interest of the local growers should be protected at all costs.

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