KARACHI: The announcement for the 9th National Finance Commission award is already due. With the provincial results for the recently held census, the share of the provinces for the award is unlikely to change by any great margin. Until and unless a constitutional amendment is introduced, Punjab will receive the biggest chunk with the population criteria being the most weighted one at 82 per cent. The other parameters for award distribution are poverty, revenue and inverse population density. Any possible amendment proposed to bring change in the resource sharing formula under the award must not give one province an unfair advantage over the other.
Indicators set for measuring provincial development and economic growth under Pakistan social and living standard measurement conducted by the Bureau of Statistics must also be integrated into the criteria set for the award. Including extended criteria for developmental measurement will act as a prerogative for provincial governments for optimal utilisation of resources, particularly for regions like Balochistan which have a low population density but a rich resource pool.
As the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz rules the federation, it must ensure that other provinces too, along with Punjab, receive their fair share of financial resources.
Abdul Haseeb Palijo
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2017.