PESHAWAR: The National Assembly was informed on Friday that the federal government has so far provided Rs270 billion for the development of merged tribal districts.

Parliamentary Secretary on Finance Makhdoom Zain Hussain Qureshi made available this information to the Lower House of the Parliament while responding to a call attention notice regarding non-allocation of additional 3 percent National Finance Commission (NFC) Award to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for erstwhile FATA. The parliamentary secretary said Rs97.6 billion has been released for merged tribal districts in 2019-20, while Rs 121.1 billion in 2020-21.

Zain Hussain Qureshi said till the decision of the NFC, the Centre would provide funds for the development of the merged areas. The parliamentary secretary informed that during the current fiscal year the federal government allocated Rs129.7 billion out of which about Rs 51.5 billion had already been released for the development of the merged areas. He said Rs 129.7 billion allocated for the current financial year stood 4 percent to the divisible pool.

Responding to a question, Zain Qureshi said that during the last meeting, the federal cabinet had requested the NFC to take up the issue of giving 3 percent share to merged districts of KP, and on the request of the cabinet, the issue was included in the agenda. He said the NFC has constituted a sub-group under the supervision of the finance minister of KP to look into the matter.

The parliamentary secretary said the 8th and 9th NFC Awards had so far been not announced, while work on the 10th Award was underway and all the provinces should contribute their share for the development of merged tribal districts.

The chair referred the matter to the concerned standing committee for further deliberations.

The latest increase in electricity tariff also came under discussion in the Parliament and the opposition lashed out at the government for what it termed dropping an ‘electricity bomb’ on the people who are already troubled by unprecedented inflation. The opposition said that the federal cabinet on Friday approved Rs1.68 per unit increase in power tariff.

The National Assembly session had to be adjourned on quorum issue.

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