Rs. 4000 million released to provinces for flood affected: Gilani

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Tuesday said the federal government,despite difficulties has recently released around Rs 4000 million to the provinces for the flood affected. In order to provide immediate fiscal support to the provinces,it has been decided to transfer funds for the devolved ministries budgeted in 2010-11 to the provinces and federal territories,” he added.Welcoming Chief Ministers, Senator Mian Raza Rabbani, Chairman Implementation Commission and other members at the meeting of Council of Common Interests (CCI) here, the Prime Minister said today’s critical issues are financing of projects being devolved to the provinces, remedial measures to meet the energy crisis, discontinuation of subsidies in view of the financial crunch and Management Outsourcing of Power Sector Entities through Public Private Partnership (PPP).It was the fourth CCI meeting after the 18th Amendment. He said, “our democratic government strongly believes in provincial autonomy and participative management both by the federation and the provinces and we have amply demonstrated this through our actions.”“Addition of important subjects in the Federal Legislative list part-II, for which policy is formulated and regulated by the Council of Common Interest (CCI) under Article 154 of the Constitution, is indicative of our sincere intention to decide various matters through mutual consultation and discussions,” he added.The Prime Minister expressed his immense satisfaction that provinces through CCI are participating in major policy formulation on issues of national importance.  He said the 7th NFC Award provides for allocation of more than 50% funds of the central pool to the provinces resulting in uplift of economy of the federating units.He further said that expenses in the war against terror, rising prices of oil in the international market and recent floods in the country have adversely affected finances of the federation as a result of which the government had to scale down its development activities.The Prime Minister pointed out the country is facing acute energy shortage especially in the winter season when the utilization of gas increases manifold.  He said, “this gap in demand and supply has critical social and economic repercussions for the country, that require immediate attention and we need to explore alternate avenues.”He proposed to meet the increased energy requirements, an alternate option is to explore tight gas reservoirs of the unconventional hydrocarbons.

Unlike natural gas, the tight gas is always found in very tight sands and formations which makes it difficult to flow because of low permeability.Gilani observed that exploration and production of Tight Gas is subject to high risk and high cost requiring advance technologies.  Because of the exorbitant costs and risks, the companies which have already discovered Tight Gas reservoirs, are not actualizing these discoveries, he apprised.
He said, “we need to encourage these companies to invest in Pakistan by providing additional incentives which will make their ventures economically viable.”He said companies which have international credibility should be encouraged and selected through a transparent system.The Prime Minister said that another burning issue is rationalization of the subsidies, as with the present meager resources of GDP, it is very difficult for the federal government to continue with these even for agricultural tube wells.He mentioned that majority of the farmers are using diesel tubewells and subsidy to electric tubewells is causing a sense of discrimination.  He asked the CCI for taking a decision on this issue.The Prime Minister said the government will watch the interest of public with its share in the strategic management and the modalities of public private partnership in privatized entities.He mentioned that the experience of handing over the strategic management to the private sector with reference to Karachi Electric Supply Company and PTCL has posed some challenges and at times the government has had to step in to resolve the issues.The Prime Minister expressed his commitment to help the provinces in handling their new responsibilities – APP