Sindh govt rejects ‘unconstitutional’ NFC
PPP-led govt raises objection on inclusion of finance adviser in commission, says it contravenes constitution
Statesman Report
KARACHI: The Sindh government on Thursday rejected the recently-constituted 10th National Finance Commission (NFC), terming its formation unconstitutional.
The provincial government has decided to write a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan over the issue and raise the matter at every forum to push for the reconstitution of the 10th NFC.
It contended that the appointment of certain members of the commission was in contravention of the country’s constitution, adding that the adviser to the prime minister on finance and revenue could not head the commission.
The NFC Award was notified on May 13. As there was a constitutional issue in presiding over the NFC meeting by the adviser on finance in the absence of the finance minister, the president, through a notification, allowed Hafeez Shaikh to preside over the commission’s functions.
As per the composition of the NFC, the finance minister would be the chairman while the provincial finance ministers will be members of the commission. Other members (experts) include PM’s finance adviser, Tariq Bajwa from the Punjab government, Dr Asad Sayeed from Sindh government, Musharraf Rasool Cyan from KP government and Javed Jabbar from Balochistan government.
Under the existing NFC arrangements, the Federal Divisible Pool (FDP) is distributed under the ratio of 57.5 per cent to 42.5 per cent among the provinces and the federal government, respectively.
The NFC Award is a constitutional obligation, which is clearly mentioned in Article 160 of the 1973 Constitution. The constitution has made it mandatory for the government to compose the NFC Award at an interval extending not more than five years for the distribution of finances between the Centre and the provinces.
According to Article 160 of the Constitution, after every five years, the president will constitute the NFC for a period of five years.
It is worth mentioning here that soon after becoming the finance minister, Asad Umar had directed the finance secretary to initiate the new NFC Award. Later, President Dr Arif Alvi had reconstituted the 9th NFC in January 2019, and the then-finance minister Umar had started negotiations with the provinces. However, after his resignation as the finance minister, the process of the consultation had come to a halt as the newly-appointed adviser on finance could not chair the NFC meetings due to legal reasons.