Sindh to seek control of devolved institutions
The Sindh government on Wednesday decided to approach the Council of Common Interests (CCI) to gain administrative control of the institutions devolved to provinces but still retained by the federal government.
Two separate meetings were chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas to deliberate upon what an official called partial devolution of 18 departments under the 18th Amendment.
The departments concerned were directed to prepare the case as per the decision of the Devolution Cabinet Committee (DCC) on July 6, 2011 so that a summary could be moved for the upcoming CCI meeting.
The DCC had decided that the “federal government shall be urged to effect the devolution in its totality, as per the spirit of the 18th Amendment, by taking up the issue of partial devolution before the CCI.
“The DCC had also decided that the affected departments should make out their cases/claims fully defendable, duly corroborated by the legal provisions and then refer them to the law department for examination/opinion, prior to raising them before the CCI.”
Sources told The News that the meetings were informed that the Centre had retained several institutions of the devolved departments. In the Health Department, institutions such as the Dental Council, National Council for Tab and Homeopathy, Tobacco Control, Drugs etc have been retained by the Centre. Similarly in the Sports Department, the Youth Hostel and a coaching centre located in Karachi have been retained. The Population Welfare Department’s two centres – the National Institute of Fertility Care and the CWNS — also located in Karachi have been retained by the federal government.
Livestock and Fisheries Department’s centre in the city had also not been handed over to the provincial government. Of particular concern were the Workers Welfare Fund and the EOBI of the Labour Department, sources said.
The sources said there was a difference of opinion among the Centre and the provinces over distribution of financial assets of these institutions and distribution of fixed assets owned by autonomous bodies and attached departments.
They said that a team of experts recently briefed top bureaucrats of Sindh at the Sindh Secretariat about the opportunities and challenges of the devolution process. As per a copy of the presentation obtained by The News, deletion of Federal Legislative List (FLL) to balance functional responsibilities between the Centre and provinces, recognising Sales Tax on Services and Capital Value Tax (CVT) on immovable property as provincial subjects, enhancing the role of the Council of Common Interest and the National Economic Council (NEC) and strengthening the office of the Auditor General of Pakistan were some of the benefits of the 18th Amendment.
However, the experts’ report said that the benefits of the devolution will be realised only when there was a “right set of human resources, accountability to people being served, work within regulatory framework that circumscribes actions, well-developed and articulated linkages defining intergovernmental financial relations and access to financial resources needed to
provide services people require.” the news
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