کالام میں سیاح دوستی

کالام میں سیاح دوست رویہ

طاہرعلی خان

http://www.humsub.com.pk/69143/tahir-ali-khan-5/

 3جولائی 2017 کو ہم سب پر وسی بابا کی تحریر‘‘شمال والو! بدتمیزی کا علاج بتاؤں؟’’ شایع ہوئی جس میں انہوں نے شمالی علاقہ جات کے مکینوں کو اپنی روایت کا تحفظ کرنے، جس سیاح کے خلاف بدتمیزی کا واقعہ رپورٹ ہو اس سے جرمانہ وصول کرنے اور دوبارہ مخصوص عرصے کے لیے اپنے علاقے میں گھسنے نہ  دینے کا مشورہ دیا ہے  اور امید ظاہر کی ہے کہ جب دو چار کو پانچ دس ہزار جرمانہ ہو گا تو لڑکے لڑکیوں سے کئی گز دور رہیں گے۔ اس تحریر پر ایک تبصرہ میں رانا اورنگزیب رانگا  نے پٹھانوں میں اجنبیوں، مسافروں اور خواتین کے ساتھ تعاون واحترام کے چند واقعات قلمبند کرتے ہوئے انکی تریف کی ہے۔

جالبنڑ کی چڑھائی

یہ کالم اور اس پر تبصرہ پڑھ کر مجھے کالام سوات کے حوالے سے اپنے کچھ  مشاہدات ا ور تاثرات یاد آئے۔ یہ آج سے پندرہ برس پہلے کی بات ہے۔ گرمیوں کی تین مہینے کی تعطیلات کے لیے سکول بند ہوگٗئے تو ہم چند دوستوں نے یہ چھٹیاں خاندان کے ہمراہ پاکستان کے سوئٹزر لیںڈ سوات کے علاقے کالام میں گزارنے کا ارادہ کیا۔ وہاں جانے سے پہلے ہم نے گھر کرائے پر لے لیے تھے۔ تین مہینے کے لے اُس وقت ایک مناسب گھر دس سے پندرہ ہزار میں مل جاتا تھا ۔ 2010 کے سیلاب سے ابھی سڑکیں خراب نہیں ہوئی تھیں۔ ہم سہولت سے پہنچے بھی اور وہاں ہمارا قیام بھی بڑاخوشگوار رہا۔ ہم چار دوست روزانہ میلوں پیدل آس پاس کے علاقوں کے چکرلگاتے رہتے اور ہفتے میں ایک بار دورافتادہ مقامات پر گاڑی میں بھی جاتے ۔اس دوران کئ ایک یادگار واقعات پیش آئے جن سے ایک دوواقعات وسی بابا  کے کالم اور اس پر تبصرہ کی تائید کرتی ہیں۔

جالبنڑ سے کالام کا نظارہ

ہم نے کالام بازار سے مغرب کی طرف تین کلومیٹر بلندی پر واقع ایک گاؤں جالبنڑ میں جگہ کرائے پر حاصل کی تھی۔ جالبنڑ سے  مغرب کی طرف اونچائی پرایک بڑا پہاڑ ہے اور ایک آبشار  بھی ہے جس پر چھوٹا سا بجلی گھر بنایا گیا ہے۔ مشرق کی طرف اونچائی پر برف سے لدی ہوئی پہاڑی چوٹیاں نظر آتی ہیں۔ شمال کی طرف بھی پہاڑیاں اور وسیع جنگلات دکھائی دیتے ہیں جبکہ اس کے جنوب میں  ایک پہاڑی ہے جس کے اُس طرف گیل کی مشہور وادی ہے۔ گیل اور جالبنڑ کے درمیانی پہاڑ کی چوٹی پر وسیع رقبے پر محیط ایک محل نما گھر اور باغ تھا، اس کے چاروں طرف خاردار تاریں اور آہنی جنگلے لگے ہوئے تھے۔ علاقے کے مکینوں کا کہنا تھا یہ لاہور کے شریف خاندان کا سرمائی گھر ہے۔

 جالبنڑ سے  بازار آنے جانے کے لیے کھیتوں کے درمیان ایک سڑک بنی ہوئی تھی۔ اس کی حالت بہت خراب تھی۔گیل کی وادی تک پہنچنے کے لیے جالبنڑ سے ایک انتہائی سخت چڑھائی والی پگڈنڈی لوگوں نے بنائی ہوئی تھی۔ ان راستوں پر نیچے آنے اور پھر واپس جانے کا اپنا ہی مزہ تھا۔ پٹھے مضبوط ہونے شروع ہوئے تو دم بھی آہستہ آہستہ پختہ ہوتا گیا۔ آغازمیں معمولی سفر کے بعد آرام کرنا پڑتا لیکن پھر میلوں سفر پر بھی اس کی ضرورت نہ پڑتی۔ یوں تو ہر ایک کو  فائدہ ہوا مگر ہمارے ایک لحیم دوست جس کا وزن کالام جانے سے پہلے ۱۱۰ کلوگرام تھا ان سیاحتی مٹرگشتیوں کے بعد ۸۰ کلو تک آگئے۔

جالبنڑ کے لوگوں کو بڑا ملنسارپایا۔ جس شخص کا مکان ہم نے کرایہ پر لیا تھا وہ حاجی صاحب کہلاتے تھے۔ انہوں نے ہماری دعوت کی۔ اس کے بعد کئ دوسرے افراد نے بھی مہمان نوازی کی۔ پنجاب اور دوسرے علاقوں کے لوگ بھی یہاں رہ رہے تھے اور وہ بھی بڑے خوش اور مطمئن تھے۔

ایک روز جالبنڑ میں عشاء کی نماز کے شوروغوغا بلند ہوا۔ پتہ چلا کسی سیاح پنجابی جوڑی کو کسی نے بازار سے اوپر جالبنڑ آتے ہوئے نقدی اور زیورات سے محروم کردیا ہے۔ کچھ بزرگ حضرات  رونے والی لڑکی اور پریشان لڑکے کی ڈھارس بندھانے لگے جب کہ اس دوران لاؤڈ سپیکروں پر جوڑے کے لٹنے کا اعلان کرکےکہا گیا کہ سب لوگ نکل آئیں تاکہ چوروں کو پکڑا جا سکے۔ آناً فاناً  اپنے علاقے کی اس طرح بدنامی پر بپھرے اور لاٹھیوں سے مسلح جوان ادھر ادھر پھیل گئے۔ تھوڑی دیر بعد دو نوجوان ان کے قبضے میں تھے۔ انہیں بزرگوں کے سامنے پیش کیاگیا مگر اس سے پہلے انکی اچھی خاصی مرمت کی جا چکی تھی۔ معلوم ہوا یہ لڑکے بھی سیاح کے طور پرباہر سے آئے تھے۔ ان سے رقم اور زیورات لےکر جوڑے کےحوالے کر دئیے گئے۔ وہ ڈاکو روتے دھوتے معافی مانگتے رہے کہ آئندہ وہ یہاں ایسا کچھ نہیں کریں گے اور نہ ہی وہ سوات آئیں گے۔ بعد میں غالباً انہیں پولیس کے حوالے کردیا گیا۔

kondol lake

ایک اورناقابل فراموش واقعہ کالام سے سولہ کلومیٹردور شمال میں واقع اتروڑ وادی میں پیش آیا۔ اتروڑ سے شمال کی جانب چار میل کی مسافت پر واقع جھیل کنڈول یا کنڈل جھیل (ڈھنڈٌ) کو جانے کا راستہ دشوار گزار ہے، پانچ چھے گھنٹہ کا پیدل سفر ہے اور اوپر آکسیجن کی کمی بھی پیش آتی ہے جس کے لیے مقامی لوگوں نے ایک مقامی بوٹی کو مسلسل سونگھتے رہنے کی ہدایت کی۔ وہ واقعی ایک کٹھن سفر تھا۔ ہمارے لحیم دوست کی سانس تو لگ بھگ ٹوٹ گئ تھی اور ہمارے ہاتھوں کے توتے اڑ گئے تھے لیکن خدا خدا کرکے کنڈل جھیل پہنچ گئے تو ایک اورامتحان ہمارے منتظر تھا۔ ہمارے ساتھ لاہور سے تعلق رکھنے والے پانچ لڑکوں کو ایک گروپ بھی تھا۔ ہم وہاں پہنچ گئے تو لاہوری بھائیوں کے درمیان کسی مسئلے پر توتو میں میں شروع ہوگئ۔ دیکھتے ہی تین لڑکے ایک دھان پان سے لڑکے پر ٹوٹ پڑے اور اس سے پہلے کہ ہم بیچ بچاؤ کرتے وہ لڑکا اور اس کے ایک اور ساتھی کے سر اور چہرے سے خون بہنے لگا۔ ان کے کپڑے جگہ جگہ سے پھٹ گئے تھے۔ ہم نے لڑکوں کو روکنے کی کوشش کی تو وہ ہم سے بھی الجھ گئے کہ ہمارا ان کے ذاتی معاملے میں کیا کام۔ جو قصور اس لڑکےکا ان سے معلوم ہوا وہ  بہت معمولی تھا مگرلاہوری دوست ہمارے منع کرنے اور اس لڑکے کی بچاؤ بچاؤ کی دہائی کے باوجود  اس دوران اس کو ٹھڈے مارتے رہے۔ اس دوران مارنے والوں میں سے ایک نے آواز لگائی اس۔۔۔ کے کپڑے نکال دو۔  ہم ابھی اپنے اگلے طرزعمل پر ابھی سوچ رہے تھے کہ اس دوران  کچھ فاصلے پر موجود تین لڑکوں کا ایک گروپ تیزی سے قریب آیا۔  ایک لڑکے ، جس نے لمبا کوٹ اور چادر اوڑھی ہوئی تھی، نے آتے ہی مارنے والوں کو کہا کہ ہاتھ روک دیں اور ساتھ ہی ہمیں بھی کھری کھری سنائیں کہ پٹھان ہونے کے باوجود ہم خاموش تماشائی بنے ہوئے ہیں اور مظلوم کو بچانہیں رہے۔ بپھرے ہوئے لاہوری جوانوں نے اس کو بھی جھڑک دیا۔ اس لڑکے نے اچانک چادر اتار پھینکی اور کوٹ کے نیچے ہاتھ ڈال کر نکالا تو اس  میں کلاشنکوف تھی۔ اس نےکلاشنکوف کا رخ ان کی طرف کرکے انہیں ہاتھ اوپر اٹھانے اور آنکھیں بند کرکے کھڑے ہونے کا حکم دیا۔ اس کے بعد اس لڑکے کو اٹھایا اور اپنے ساتھیوں سے بھاری بھاری بدلہ لینے کا کہا۔ وہ لڑکا رونےلگ گیا کہ میں انہیں معاف کرتا ہوں آپ بھی انہیں معاف کردیں۔ کلاشنکوف والا لڑکا کہنے لگا۔ نہیں مگر اگر یہ خود آپ سے معافی مانگ لیں۔ لڑکے جو اس سے پہلے بڑے تیس مار خان بنے ہوئے تھے، فوراً لڑکے کے پاؤں پڑ گئے۔ لڑکے نے انہیں اٹھا کر گلے لگایا اور ہم سب نے ہنسی خوشی اکٹھے کھانا کھایا۔ کلاشنکوف والا لڑکا پھروہاں سے پہاڑکی جانب چلا اور جلد ہی نگاہوں سے اوجھل ہوگیا۔

ایک اور عجیب و غریب تجربہ یا مشاہدہ یہ تھا کہ کالام میں آپ کہیں بھی کسی کھیت یا باغ کے اندر مصروف کار لوگوں سے کوئی سبزی یا پھل مانگ لیں تو وہ آپ سے پیسے نہیں لیتے۔ بازار کی بات الگ ہے۔ گھر سے آپ کو دودھ بھی پیسوں سے نہیں مفت ملے گا اگر ہوگا تو۔ وہ کہتے ہیں کھیت، باغ اور گھر سے مانگنے کی کوئی چیز پیسوں سےبیچنا ان کی روایات کے خلاف ہے۔

مٹلتان کالام

ایک اور واقعہ پیش خدمت ہے۔ ایک روز حاجی صاحب اور جالبنڑ کے چند اور بزرگوں کے ساتھ ہم گیل وادی میں ’’شریف محل‘‘ میں ایک دعوت سے فارغ ہوکر واپس آرہے تھے کہ پہاڑ کی چوٹی پر راستے سے کافی دور ایک لڑکا لڑکی جھاڑیوں میں ’’راز ونیاز‘‘ کرتے نظر آئے۔ ہم ان کے پاس گئے کہ ان سے ’’تفتیش‘‘ کرلیں مگر حاجی صاحب نے ایک دو سوالات کے بعد ہی ہمیں انہیں چھوڑ کر نماز کے لیے مسجد کی راہ لینے پر آمادہ کر لیا۔ایسا لگا ہماری ’تجسس‘ اور ان کی ’سیاح دوستی‘ کے مقابلے میں ہماری تجسس ہار گئ۔

مہو ڈھنڈ کالام

Taxatio reforms in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Taxation reforms in KP
By Tahir Ali
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government several has suggested several amendments to the relevant laws and revised the ratio of taxes in the 2014-15 budget.
It wishes to amend the first schedule of the sales tax act which will enable it to bring some more sectors in the tax net.
Rather than going for robust industrial revival and economic growth to increase its revenue, KP has opted for raising the ratio of tobacco development cess, land tax, agriculture income tax, professional tax and other taxes, levies, fees, duties and royalties such as the stamp duty, parking fees, route permits and royalties on forests for the purpose.
KP will generate provincial own receipts (PORs) of Rs28.78bn against current year’s Rs20bn. The PORs consist of tax receipts of Rs19.45bn (67.6%) and non-tax receipts of Rs.9.327bn (32.4%). Tax receipts include 11.8% direct taxes and 88.2% indirect taxes.

However the PORs will only be seven per cent of the total revenue receipts of the province as usual. PORs are projected to increase to Rs32.5bn and Rs36.6 in the next two years.

PORs include direct taxes like taxes on agriculture, property, land revenue etc, indirect taxes like GST on services, provincial excise, motor vehicle tax, stamp duties etc, and non tax receipts like income from property and enterprises, civil administration and economic, community and social services.

To improve tax collection, tax facilitation centres to be set up in Peshawar and other big cities. And Patwaris, who play pivotal role, have been given 50 per cent pay raise and Rs500 stationary allowance to discourage corruption and improve agriculture/land tax collection.

Agriculture tax
KP has been collecting direct taxes -Land Revenue (water tax or Abiana), agriculture income tax (AIT) and Land tax (LT) –and non tax heads (user charges) from farming community.

AIT/LT is collected by the Revenue and Estates department while LR is collected by the irrigation department through the patwaris from the farmers.

The AIT is collected on different rates from the owner, mortgagee or lessee or the tenants and levied on income from cultivated land while LT at a fixed rate over and above the exempted 12/5 acres of land under crops and orchards. Their rates have however been revised.

Target for AIT/LT and LR has been fixed at Rs79mn and Rs1.4bn against Rs22mn and Rs1.1bn budget estimates of the current year.

The exemption from AIT has been raised from Rs0.1mn to Rs0.4mn. 5 percent AIT would be collected from every owner of agriculture land if his income is over Rs0.4mn but doesn’t exceed Rs0.55mn. Where income exceeds Rs0.55mn but not Rs0.75mn, land owners will pay Rs7,500 plus 10 percent on the amount over Rs0.55mn. And when the income goes above Rs0.75mn but not Rs0.95mn, the owner will pay Rs22,500 plus 10 percent tax on the amount exceeding Rs0.75mn.On agriculture income between Rs0.95mn and Rs1.1mn, Rs42,500 plus 15 percent tax on the exceeding amount. And a land owner will pay Rs65000 tax plus 17.5 percent if his income exceeds Rs1.1mn.

Similarly, the rate for LT has been increased from Rs72 per acre over and above the exempted 12/5 acres of land under crops to Rs225-340 and to Rs900 from Rs300/acre for orchards.

Urban immoveable property (UIP) tax

The government has also revised and extended the scope of property tax. A proper survey will be conducted to properly determine property tax.
Earlier, 2 per cent capital value tax had been imposed on the transaction of UIP (residential flats and multi-storey buildings) but the 2 per cent tax had not to be less than Rs10 per square feet of constructed area. The condition has been waived and it will now be levied according to the classifications of constructed area.
Similarly, the ‘low’ ratio of UIP tax on houses of 15-20 marlas will be increased for houses on 18 marla or above.
Immovable properties have been divided into 12 categories. An owner of upto 5 marlas house (other than self-occupied) in category A, B and C (townships) in Peshawar will pay Rs1000, Rs 900 and Rs750 in UIP respectively. Owners of over 5 marlas will pay UIP tax of Rs1700, Rs1600 and Rs1500, owners of 10 marlas will pay Rs2200, Rs2100 and Rs2000, owners of 15 marlas house will deposit Rs3300, Rs3200, and Rs3000 while those with 18-20 marlas houses and flats will pay UIP tax of Rs10000, Rs9000, Rs8000 the three categories respectively.
Any land or building used for mobile towers or antennas which pays UIP tax at flat rate of 20 per cent of their annual rent will give Rs40000 annual tax in provincial, Rs30,000 in divisional and Rs20000 in district headquarters.
Critics opine that for the first time in the history of Pakistan, UIP tax will be extended to the suburbs at the district level in the KP budget (however this decision has been withdrawn in the finance act, 2014-15 passed by the provincial assembly)
The employees of grade 1-5 have been exempted from the tax. All government employees from scale5-22 will be giving annual tax between Rs100 and Rs2000.
Professional tax
Almost all professionals, business and services, with exclusion of lawyers, like chartered accounts, transporters, money changers, jewellers, cable operators, tobacco whole sellers, and businesses like petrol/diesel/CNG stations, real estate shops/ agencies vehicle service stations, printing presses etc will be in the tax-net now.
The professional tax threshold has been increased from Rs6000/pm to Rs10000 a month but as minimum monthly pay has also been fixed at Rs12000/pm ( as per the finance act, the minimum pay has been increased to Rs15000), practically all are to be taxed.
Those earning Rs10,000-Rs20,000/month will pay professional tax of Rs330 while the tax will be Rs435, Rs600, Rs800 and Rs1,000 respectively for those earning Rs20,000-Rs50,000, Rs Rs50,000-Rs100,000, Rs100,000-Rs200,000 and Rs200,000-Rs500,000/month.
The private limited companies, modarbas and mutual funds etc with paid-up capital and income of Rs10mn per annum in the previous year will pay tax of Rs18000 and Rs100000 if their income is over Rs200mn.
Persons owning factories, commercial establishments, private educational institutions and private hospitals will also pay tax. Any commercial establishment having 10 or more employees will pay tax of Rs10000 and private hospitals with 50 employees will pay Rs50000 tax a year.
Private business education institutes with 100 students will pay Rs70000 tax. Private law, medical and engineering colleges running degree programmes will pay Rs100000 tax, while educational institutes taking Rs5000 monthly fee from students have to pay Rs100000 annually.
Holders of import/export licence who earn Rs50000 in previous year will pay Rs4000 tax. A clearing or custom agent will pay Rs10000 and restaurants/guesthouses owners, professional caterers, travel agents and hajj/tour operators will pay Rs15000 tax while wedding halls owners Rs30000 annual tax.
Specialist doctors will pay Rs20000 while dentists Rs15000 professional tax a year. Diagnostic and therapeutic centres and pathological and chemical laboratories will also be taxed.
Experts say by directly collecting income tax from professionals and commercial entities, the KP government is intruding into the domain of the federal government which is exclusively authorised to collect income tax.
It is still not clear whether these taxes on employees and professionals would be in addition to the income tax?
It is merits mentioning that under the Finance Act 2013, KP had finalised arrangements to impose the infrastructure development cess but could not do so following objections from the federal government.
After the 18th amendment, excise duty on oil was to be imposed under Article 161(1)(b) of Pakistan’s constitution but it is yet to be levied. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could receive Rs14.6bn on this count.
While the government claims it wishes to provide relief to the poor and collect tax only from the rich, these measures may ultimately burden the common men and will be resisted by the businessmen, farmers and the working class impacted by slump in business and price-hike.

 

 

Dawn-KP budget 2014-15

Progressive taxation of farm incomes

By Tahir Ali

Published Jun 23, 2014 06:11am

http://www.dawn.com/news/1114457/progressive-taxation-of-farm-incomes
The Rs404.8bn Khyber Pakhtunkhwa balanced budget for 2014-15, with a Rs139.8bn annual development programme, is aimed at addressing economic, social and industrial woes of the impoverished province, but falls short of business expectations.
“It is a status-quo budget devoid of any change, vision and reform agenda, and neglects the potential sectors. KP is beset with flight of capital, rising unemployment, terrorism and energy shortage. Joblessness is on the rise — there is 14.8pc unemployment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Emergency steps are needed for economic growth, industrial revival, infrastructure development, energy supply, revival of sick industrial units and improvement in law and order and technical and IT education. But there is no proper roadmap for these areas.
“The government has failed to give new mineral, industrial, hydro, oil/gas and tourism policies reflective of its agenda for change,” says KP Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Zahidullah Shinwari.
The new budget is bigger by Rs69bn than the current budget of Rs344bn, while the ADP is higher by Rs21bn over this fiscal’s Rs118bn.
Major revenue receipts include Rs227.12bn from federal tax assignments, Rs12bn in net hydro profit, Rs32.27bn as NHP arrears, Rs29.26bn from oil/gas royalty, Rs27.29bn as war on terror grant and Rs35.35bn as foreign assistance etc.
KP’s own revenue receipts are estimated at Rs29bn (up by 70 per cent against the current year) and include Rs19.45bn in tax receipts and non-tax revenue of Rs9.3bn. This includes Rs12bn as GST on services. The province also earns Rs2.85bn from its own power plants.
The budget suggests insufficient measures to check the current expenditure which has reached around 70 per cent of the total budgeted outlay.
The finance minister promised to provide 15,000 more jobs in the public sector, but admitted that joblessness cannot be eliminated by the government alone. Without support of the private sector, and for that matter, economic growth, the problem cannot be solved.
There seems to be a genuine attempt to raise provincial revenues. The PTI-led KP government has proposed a progressive tax on agriculture income, as well as land tax and property tax. The KP revenue authority will conduct a proper survey to determine the property tax.
It intends to raise fees on stamp duty, professionals and professional institutions, business establishments etc. Strangely, a PTI-led government is to tax educational institutions, including medical, engineering and law colleges.
The finance minister says the province is replete with abundant human and natural resources, but its population is living in poverty and backwardness owing to unfair distribution of resources, flawed planning, joblessness, illiteracy, corruption, nepotism, weak accountability system and lack of good governance. He vowed to root out these evils.
Prepared under the ‘Integrated Development Strategy’, the budget aims at good governance, responsive social services delivery, economic prosperity, peace, economic growth and job creation, improved transparency and accountability, enhanced fiscal space and gender equity.
The minister said the private sector would be involved in the construction and maintenance of public sector development projects in partnership with the public sector.
However, important sectors have been allocated higher but yet paltry sums: Rs3.4bn for power sector against Rs1.4bn in the current year; Rs4.7bn against Rs3.28bn for irrigation and Rs1.58bn against Rs1.53bn for agriculture. Agriculture is the backbone of the economy as 70 per cent people in KP are dependent on it for their survival.
A Board of Investment and Trade has been formed to ensure an investment- friendly environment and for economic revival. The KP oil and gas authority has been constituted for better use of existing resources and for exploring new ones. But the impact of the two bodies is still not yet visible.
The finance minister says KP’s industrial sector is hit by lawlessness, energy crisis, limited market, high cost of production, dilapidated infrastructure and inadequate technical knowhow.
For this, technical education is to be promoted and has been allocated Rs3.7bn.
A self-reliance scheme with a Rs2.7bn rolling fund has been proposed to give interest- free loans of Rs50,000-200,000 to jobless youth.
He said the mineral sector could be used for poverty alleviation but earmarked only Rs0.62cbn for the sector.
The government intends to set up a stock exchange in Peshawar and is seeking support of the federal government in this regard.
Several austerity measures have been proposed to bring down expenditure. No treatment/training abroad, no new cars and no new posts are to be allowed unless approved by the chief minister. The construction of houses for officials and ministers on 20 marlas and 110 per cent raise in salaries of ministers, advisors etc. This is, however, being resented.
A sum of Rs7.9bn has been allocated for a pro-poor initiative under which various welfare programmes such as health insurance and provincial youth technical education etc will be launched. A Rs6bn special relief package programme for giving subsidised edible items to the poor has been proposed in the budget.
Various hydro and alternate energy projects being launched include the construction of 350 small dams.
Published in Dawn, Economic & Business, June 23rd, 2014

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ORIGINAL TEXT OF THE ARTICLE AS IT WAS SENT TO DAWN
KP budget 2014<br
By Tahir Ali
The Rs404.8bn Khyber Pakhtunkhwa balanced budget for 2014-15 with Rs139.8bn annual development programme addresses almost all the problems the province is faced with but gives only partial remedies to the economic, social and industrial woes of the impoverished province.
“The budget is a status-quo budget devoid of any change, vision and reform agenda and neglects the potential sectors. KP is beset with flight of capital, rising unemployment, terrorism and energy shortage. Joblessness is on the rise –there is 14.8 percent unemployment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against around 9.5 percent at national level. Province own revenues have remained stagnant. Real estate not taxed. Emergency steps were needed for economic growth, industrial revival, infrastructure development, energy supply, revival of sick industrial units, improvement in law and order, focus on technical and IT education but there is no proper roadmap for the areas. The government has failed to give a new mineral, industrial, hydel, oilg/gas and tourism policies reflective of its change agenda,” says the KP chamber of commerce and industry (Kpcci) president Zahidullah Shinwari.
Agonizing further is the fact that around 70 percent of the development funds lapsed in the current fiscal, he added.
The new budget is bigger by 69bn from the current year budget of Rs344bn while the ADP is higher by Rs21bn from this fiscal’s ADP of Rs118bn.
Major revenue receipts include Rs227.12bn federal tax assignments, Rs12bn net hydel profit plus Rs32.27bn as NHP arrears, Rs29.26bn oil/gas royalty, Rs27.29bn war on terror grant Rs35.35bn as foreign assistance besides some others sources.
KP’s own revenue receipts are estimated at Rs29bn (up by 70 per cent against the current year) include Rs19.45bn tax receipts and non tax receipts of Rs9.3bn. Rs12bn as GST on services which rose by 100 per cent is inclusive of tax receipts. The province also earns Rs2.85bn from own power plants.
The PORs target may be easily met in next fiscal and the years to come as new power plants get operational and sales tax collection targets is met for being easy,
Unlike other provinces, the budget has been divided into welfare, administrative and development sections but it is insignificant as welfare and administrative is the current budget having an outlay of Rs265bn while development budget is Rs139.8bn with Rs100bn local and Rs39bn foreign component.
The budget suggests insufficient measures to check current expenditure which has reached around 70 per cent of the total budget.
The expansion of the public sector must be a matter of concern for the subsequent government. The rising pay and pension bill of Rs176.5bn (66 percent of total current expenditure of Rs265bn) will squeeze space for development budget in future if not tackled. Industrialisation and Private sector
The finance minister promised to provide 15000 more jobs in public sector but he agreed that joblessness cannot be eliminated by government alone. Without support of private sector and for that matter economic growth, the problem couldn’t be achieved.
There seems to be a genuine attempt this time round to raise the provincial revenues locally and reduce dependence on federal and foreign funds. The PTI-led KP government has proposed a progressive tax on agriculture income, land tax and a progressive property tax.
KP has established KP revenue authority. This year a proper survey will be conducted to properly determine property tax.
It intends to raise the ratio of provincial taxes and fees on stamp duty, professionals and professional institutions, business establishments, agriculture income and salaries.
The rise in taxes/fees is expected to hit the consumers ultimately for it will be passed on to them. Strangely, a PTI-led government is to tax educational institutions including medical, engineering and law colleges.
The minister said KP is replete with abundant human and natural resources but its population is living under poverty and backwardness for unfair distribution of resources, flawed planning, joblessness, illiteracy, corruption, nepotism, weak accountability system and lack of good governance and vowed to root out these evils.
Prepared under the “Integrated Development Strategy”, the budget aims at good governance, responsive social services delivery, economic prosperity, peace, economic growth and job creation, improved transparency and accountability, enhanced fiscal space, gender equity and donor harmonization.
The minister said public private partnership act has been approved. The private sector would be involved in the construction and maintenance of public sector development projects.
Education has proved to be its biggest priority. However, important economic sectors have been allocated paltry sums: Rs3.4bn for power sector against Rs1.4bn in current year, Rs4.7bn against Rs3.28bn for irrigation and agriculture Rs1.58bn against Rs1.53bn in current year. The detailed expenditure report for the current year reveals that vital social and economic sectors of the ADP like social welfare, education, agriculture, energy/power and industries had been allocated Rs0.6bn, Rs24bn, Rs1.53bn, Rs2.2bn and Rs4.4bn respectively but actual utilisation remained at Rs.2bn, Rs3.72bn, Rs0.63bn, Rs0.65bn and Rs1bn could be utilised in this fiscal in that order.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy as 70 per cent people in KP are dependent over it for their survival but only Rs1.5bn has been allocated for the sector. The poverty and inability of farmers to use enough quality inputs to raise their produce but the government comes up with only loans on easy terms for them.
A Board of investment and trade has been formed to ensure investment friendly environment and for economic revival. KP oil and gas authority has been constituted for better use of existing resources and to explore new ones but its impact is still not discernable.
To bring down poverty and accountability, the government has promulgated the right to information law and established a commission for access to information, access to services’ commission and conflict of interest commission, ihtesab commission, a complaint cell in CM secretariat. And a public procurement regulatory authority established to make the procurement system of hiring of services, goods and construction transparent and corruption free and introduced the market rate system instead of the composite scheduled rates to ensure transparency in development schemes.
The minister said KP industrial sector is hit by lawlessness, energy crisis, limited market, high cost of production, dilapidated infrastructure and lack of technical knowhow.
For this technical education is to be promoted which has been allocated Rs3.7bn. Technical University will be established.
Under the self-reliance scheme with a Rs2.7bn rolling fund has been proposed to give interest free loans of Rs50,000-200,000 to jobless youth on their personal guarantee.
He said the mineral sector could be used for poverty alleviation but then only allocated Rs0.62cbn in ADP for the sector.
The government intends to set up stock exchange in Peshawar to support the progress of industry and trade sectors and wishes the federal government to take further measures in this regard.
The government proposed ‘several austerity measures’ to bring down expenditure. No foreign treatment/training, no new cars and no posts to be allowed unless approved by CM. But he didn’t specify what happened to similar measures in the current budget. The minister said the government has formed committees for monetization and economy which are working with far reaching consequences, though he failed to identify any.
The construction of houses for officials and ministers on 20 marlas and 110 per cent raise in salaries of minister, advisors etc however is being resented.
Rs7.9bn has been allocated for a pro-poor initiative under which various welfare programs, such as health insurance, long-term loan for development of industries, and provincial youth technical education scheme etc would be launched. Rs6bn more allocated for a special relief package program for giving subsidized edible items to the poor.
Various hydel and alternate energy projects being launched. Rs7bn have been allocated to construct 350 small dams. 400 megawatts of electricity will be produced through gas whose cheap energy will be given to industries.

KP Development budget 2014-15

No change in sight

Will the KP government be able to meet ambitious development targets set in the budget?

 
No change in sight
 
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government presented its budget for 2014-15 with an outlay of Rs404.8 billion last week. The Rs139.8 billion annual development programme is 20 per cent higher than the current year. It also includes Rs39 billion foreign component of which 79 per cent are grants.

KP Finance Minister Sirajul Haq says the province has abundant human and natural resources but its population is living under poverty and backwardness due unfair distribution of resources and lack of good governance.

Major revenue receipts include Rs227.12 billion federal tax assignments, Rs12 billion net hydel profit plus Rs32.27 billion as NHP arrears, Rs29.26 billion oil/gas royalty, Rs27.29 billion war on terror grant, Rs35.35 billion as foreign assistance besides some others sources.

KP’s own revenue receipts estimated at Rs29 billion (up by 70 per cent against the current year) include Rs19.45 billion tax receipts and non-tax receipts of Rs9.3 billion. Rs12 billion as GST on services which rose by 100 per cent is inclusive of tax receipts. The province also earns Rs2.85 billion from own power plants. Current expenditure (welfare and administrative) will be Rs265 billion.

The government’s development priorities are right, people say, but they doubt it will be able to meet its defined goals. Our successive governments have failed to create jobs thus leaving Pakhtuns searching for even menial jobs in other provinces or abroad, they argue. Most of the development funds for the outgoing year largely remain unutilised, claims an industrialist.

Various hydel and alternate energy projects are being launched — Rs7 billion have been allocated to construct 350 small dams, while 400 megawatts of electricity will be produced through gas whose cheap energy will be given to industries.

The public-private partnership act has been approved. The private sector would be involved in the construction and maintenance of public sector development projects. New industrial zones will be established but there is no plan for the revival of the sick industrial clusters like Gadoon Industrial estate.

Various hydel and alternate energy projects are being launched — Rs7 billion have been allocated to construct 350 small dams, while 400 megawatts of electricity will be produced through gas whose cheap energy will be given to industries.

Zahidullah Shinwari, the president of the KP Chamber of Commerce and Industry, terms the budget a status-quo budget devoid of any vision and reform agenda. “KP is beset with flight of capital, rising unemployment, terrorism and energy shortage. Joblessness is on the rise — there is 14.8 per cent unemployment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against around 9.5 per cent at national level.”

“Emergency steps were needed for economic growth, industrial revival, infrastructure development, energy supply, revival of sick industrial units and improvement in law and order, but there is no proper roadmap. The government has failed to give new mineral, industrial, hydel, oil/gas and tourism policies reflective of its change agenda,” he said.

There is contradiction in the figures. The finance minister said the current ADP has 611 on going and 378 new projects of which 209 will be completed this fiscal. The remaining and ongoing project are therefore 780. But he said the next budget will have 1251 projects including 611 ongoing and 540 new projects.

In education sector, the government will upgrade schools, establish IT laboratories in high schools, provide furniture to 2300 schools, provide sports facilities in 2400 schools, provide scholarships to talented students and offer free education to special persons in all colleges of the province.

Agriculture is the mainstay of livelihood for over 70 per cent of KP people, acknowledges the minister, but for 46 projects, only Rs1.58 billion have been allocated. While the allocation has been marginally increased, it has in fact come down as percentage to the ADP — while the current year’s allocation was 1.8 per cent of local ADP, the new apportionment is 1.5 per cent.

In Rs39 billion foreign component of ADP, education again was the major beneficiary with Rs11.7 billion, followed by Rs7.6 billion for roads for five projects but agriculture gets only Rs0.8 billion, energy Rs2.6 billion and industries Rs1.6 billion.

The poverty and inability of farmers to use enough quality inputs to raise their produce is the biggest hitch, the minister says, but he comes up with only loans on easy terms for them.

The PTI fans and even some ministers are taking pride in ‘a record increase’ in education spending to Rs111 billion but critics say most of the allocation (over Rs80 billion) comprises current budget which is but natural for being the biggest employees-wise department of the province.

The detailed expenditure report for the current year also reveals that vital social and economic sectors of the ADP like social welfare, education, agriculture, energy/power and industries had been allocated Rs0.6 billion, Rs24 billion, Rs1.53 billion, Rs2.2 billion and Rs4.4 billion respectively, but actual utilisation remained at Rs.2 billion, Rs3.72 billion, Rs0.63 billion, Rs0.65 billion and Rs1 billion in this fiscal.

In a bid to increase KP’s own revenue receipts, the government intends to raise the ratio of provincial taxes and fees on stamp duty, professionals and professional institutions, business establishments, agriculture income and salaries. The rise in taxes/fees is expected to hit the consumers ultimately for it will be passed on to them. Strangely, a PTI-led government is to tax educational institutions including medical, engineering and law colleges.

As per the Finance Bill 2014-15, an annual tax of Rs330 will be levied on a person in any profession and trade who earns between Rs10,000-Rs20,000. While a person earning between Rs200,000-Rs500,000 will pay tax of Rs10,000.

The employees of grade 1-5 have been exempted from the tax and the minimum professional tax threshold has been increased from Rs6000/pm to Rs10000 a month which, the finance minister said, will provide relief to low income class. But does the assertion hold any ground on the face of the fact that minimum monthly pay has been already fixed at Rs12000/pm.

Twelve categories are suggested for urban immovable property (UIP) tax. For technical education, Rs3.7 billion have been allocated and a technical university will be established. Rs2.7 billion have been earmarked to give interest-free loans of Rs50,000-200,000 to jobless youth on their personal guarantee.

The government proposed ‘several austerity measures’ to bring down expenditure. No foreign treatment/training, no new cars and no posts to be allowed unless approved by the chief minister.

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ORIGINAL TEXT OF THE ARTICLE AS IT WAS SENT TO THE NEWS

KP budget 2014-15

By Tahir Ali

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government presented its balanced budget for 2014-15 with an outlay of Rs404.8bn last week.

The Rs139.8bn annual development programme is 20 per cent higher than the current year. It also includes Rs39bn foreign component of which 79 % are grants.

The KP finance minister Sirajul Haq says KP has abundant human and natural resources but its population is living under poverty and backwardness for unfair distribution of resources, flawed planning, joblessness, illiteracy, corruption, nepotism, weak accountability system and lack of good governance. He pledged making KP free of social, political and economic exploitation.

Major revenue receipts include Rs227.12bn federal tax assignments, Rs12bn net hydel profit plus Rs32.27bn as NHP arrears, Rs29.26bn oil/gas royalty, Rs27.29bn war on terror grant Rs35.35bn as foreign assistance besides some others sources.

KP’s own revenue receipts estimated at Rs29bn (up by 70 per cent against the current year) include Rs19.45bn tax receipts and non tax receipts of Rs9.3bn. Rs12bn as GST on services which rose by 100 per cent is inclusive of tax receipts. The province also earns Rs2.85bn from own power plants.

Current expenditure (welfare and administrative) will be Rs265bn. It needs to be checked or it will in future restrict room for development portfolio.

The government’s development priorities are right, people say, but they doubt it will be able to meet its defined goals. Our successive governments have failed to create jobs thus leaving Pakhtuns searching for even menial jobs in other provinces or abroad, they argue.

Most of the development funds for the outgoing year largely remains unutilised, claims an industrialist.

The public private partnership act has been approved. The private sector would be involved in the construction and maintenance of public sector development projects.

New industrial zones to be established but there is no plan for the revival of the sick industrial clusters like Gadoon estate.

Various hydel and alternate energy projects being launched. Rs7bn have been allocated to construct 350 small dams. 400 megawatts of electricity will be produced through gas whose cheap energy will be given to industries.

To bring down poverty and accountability, the government has promulgated the right to information law and established a commission for access to information, access to services’ commission and conflict of interest commission, ihtesab commission, a complaint cell in CM secretariat. And a public procurement regulatory authority established to make the procurement system of hiring of services, goods and construction transparent and corruption free and introduced the market rate system instead of the composite scheduled rates to ensure transparency in development schemes. .

Zahidullah Shinwari, the president of the KP chamber of commerce and industry terms the budget a status-quo budget devoid of any vision and reform agenda.

“KP is beset with flight of capital, rising unemployment, terrorism and energy shortage. Joblessness is on the rise –there is 14.8 percent unemployment in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa against around 9.5 percent at national level. Emergency steps were needed for economic growth, industrial revival, infrastructure development, energy supply, revival of sick industrial units, improvement in law and order, focus on technical and IT education but there is no proper roadmap for the areas. The government has failed to give a new mineral, industrial, hydel, oilg/gas and tourism policies reflective of its change agenda,” he said.

There is contradiction in the figures. The finance minister said the current ADP has 611 on going and 378 new projects of which 209 will be completed this fiscal. The remaining and ongoing project are therefore 780. But he said the next budget will have 1251 projects including 611 ongoing and 540 new projects.

In education sector, the government will upgrade schools, establish IT laboratories in high schools, provide furniture to 2300 schools, provide sports facilities in 2400 schools, provide scholarships to talented students and offer free education to special persons in all colleges of the province.

In Rs100bn provincial ADP, Education got Rs15bn but important economic sectors have been allocated paltry sums: Rs3.4bn for power sector against Rs1.4bn in current year, Rs4.7bn against Rs3.28bn for irrigation and agriculture Rs1.58bn against Rs1.53bn in current year.

Agriculture is the mainstay of livelihood for over 70 per cent of KP people, acknowledges the minister, but for 46 projects, only Rs1.58bnn have been allocated. While the allocation has been marginally increased, it has in fact come down as percentage to the ADP – while the current year’s allocation was 1.8 per cent of local ADP, the new apportionment is 1.5 per cent.

In Rs39bnforeign component of ADP, education again was the major beneficiary Rs11.7bn, followed by Rs7.6bn for roads for five projects but agriculture gets only Rs0.8bn, energy Rs2.6bn and industries Rs1.6bn.

The poverty and inability of farmers to use enough quality inputs to raise their produce is the biggest hitch, the minister says, but he comes up with only loans on easy terms for them.

The PTI fans and even some ministers are taking pride in ‘a record increase’ in education spending to Rs111bn but critics say most of the allocation (over Rs80bn) comprises current budget which is but natural for being the biggest employees-wise department of the province.

The detailed expenditure report for the current year also reveals that vital social and economic sectors of the ADP like social welfare, education, agriculture, energy/power and industries had been allocated Rs0.6bn, Rs24bn, Rs1.53bn, Rs2.2bn and Rs4.4bn respectively but actual utilisation remained at Rs.2bn, Rs3.72bn, Rs0.63bn, Rs0.65bn and Rs1bn could be utilised in this fiscal.

In a bid to increase KP own revenue receipts, the government intends to raise the ratio of provincial taxes and fees on stamp duty, professionals and professional institutions, business establishments, agriculture income and salaries. The rise in taxes/fees is expected to hit the consumers ultimately for it will be passed on to them. Strangely, a PTI-led government is to tax educational institutions including medical, engineering and law colleges.

As per the Finance Bill 2014-15, an annual tax of Rs330 will be levied on a person in any profession and trade who earns between Rs10,000-Rs20,000. While a person earning between Rs200,000-Rs500,000 will pay tax of Rs10,000. There are such slabs.

The employees of grade 1-5 have been exempted from the tax and the minimum professional tax threshold has been increased from Rs6000/pm to Rs10000 a month which, the finance minister said, will provide relief to low income class but does the assertion hold any ground on the face of the fact that minimum monthly pay has been already fixed at Rs12000/pm.

Twelve categories are suggested for urban immovable property (UIP) tax. An owner of upto 5 marlas house (other than self-occupied) in category A, B and C will pay Rs1000, Rs 900 and Rs750 in UIP respectively. Owners of over 5 marlas will pay UIP tax of Rs1700, Rs1600 and Rs1500, owners of 10 marlas will pay Rs2200, Rs2100 and Rs2000, owners of 15 marlas house will deposit Rs3300, Rs3200, and Rs3000 while those with 18-20 marlas houses and flats will pay UIP tax of Rs10000, Rs9000 and Rs8000 in the three categories respectively. Similarly other eight categories have different tax slabs for the immovable properties.

For technical education Rs3.7bn have been allocated and a technical University will be established. Rs2.7bn have been earmarked to give interest free loans of Rs50,000-200,000 to jobless youth on their personal guarantee.

The mineral sector could be used for poverty alleviation but only Rs0.62cbn have been allotted to it in the ADP.

The government intends to set up stock exchange in Peshawar to support the progress of industry and trade sectors.

The government proposed ‘several austerity measures’ to bring down expenditure. No foreign treatment/training, no new cars and no posts to be allowed unless approved by CM. But he didn’t specify what happened to similar measures in the current budget. The minister said the government has formed committees for monetization and economy which are working with far reaching consequences, though he failed to identify any.

The construction of houses for officials and ministers on 20 marlas and 110 per cent raise in salaries of minister, advisors etc however is being resented.

Rs7.9bn has been allocated for a pro-poor initiative under which various welfare programs, such as health insurance, long-term loan for development of industries, and provincial youth technical education scheme etc would be launched. Rs6bn more allocated for a special relief package program for giving subsidized edible items to the poor.

The education budget was Rs13.87bn in current fiscal while this year it will be Rs14.31bn for the next year.

 

 

Power sector privatisation

Power sector privatisation

By Tahir Ali

March 2, 2014

http://tns.thenews.com.pk/power-struggle-privatisation/

While the Nawaz Sharif-led federal government intends to gradually privatise all of the power distribution companies (Discos) and generation companies (Gencos), their employees are in no mood to let that happen easily.

The Council of Common Interests (CCI), headed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, decided in principle to privatize all the state-owned Discos, Gencos and other Power Sector Entities in line with the 2011 Policy earlier this month.

“In the past, unnecessary recruitments and corruption has resulted in mismanagement in these organizations and privatization, therefore, is the only solution in the national interest,” said the Prime Minister.

The Privatisation Commission, sources said, has approved the restructuring and privatization Faisalabad Electric Power Company (Fesco), Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco), Hyderabad Electric Supply Company, Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco) and others. Privatisation of some Thermal Power generation Stations has also been approved.

Earlier the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation, besides others, had decided that Islamabad Electricity Supply Company and Gujrawanala Electricity Supply Company would be offered for strategic partnerships. It directed the Privatisation Commission to ensure that the interests of employees are protected at all costs.

Minister for water and power Khwaja Muhammad Asif told the National Assembly recently that in order to improve the efficiency of the public sector power entities, some Discos and Gencos are being considered for privatisation. Improvement in the efficiency through competition, accountability, managerial autonomy and profit incentives; and the generation of required resources are the objectives of the government for the privatization of power sector.

“As a matter of fact, all Discos including Pesco are eventually to be privatized. Pesco`s turn may come later but it will,” said a knowledgeable senior source who declined to be named.

To a question on why privatization instead of improving their efficiency, the official said it`s a decision of a government you know with a knack for privatization of PSEs.

Pesco recently planned to privatise three feeders each in Bannu and Dera Ismael Khan but the proposal met stiff resistance from Wapda employees. They instead asked to handover the feeders to them with such incentives as were promised to the private contractors.

Employees fear privatisation would entail joblessness, job insecurity, and costlier energy for the masses and will tantamount to economic killing of lacs of families.

Gohar Taj, the chairman of the all Pakistan Wapda hydro electric central workers union (HECWU) which is the elected collective bodies’ agent (CBA) of Wapda, said the government had on the pressure of IMF decided to privatise Pesco, Lesco and Fesco. It has obtained approval from the CCI through majority.

“Vital national assets were being gifted to political cronies. Wapda workers won’t accept any privatisation or golden handshake offers. Due to our strong opposition, Pesco feeders couldn’t be privatised in Bannu. We will stage demonstrations on March 5 countrywide and on 11 in Islamabad. We will take along sympathetic parties and take the nation into confidence on the hazards of privatisation,” he said.

“The government should revive the loss-making entities with the staff and officers of Discos. CBA will support it. It can take help from the law enforcement agencies to curb stealing, recover dues from defaulters and to arrest corruption within the companies. Pesco employees, I am told, have increased recovery ratio by 10 per cent line losses have been curtailed by one per cent in the last three months. But if goes for privatisation, then it should be known to all that we won’t allow this bandarbant (selective distribution).”

“PPP is labour friendly. It listens to workers grievances and protects their interests but Nawas Sharif government is historically inimical to workers,” he added.

According to him, Wapda was the backbone of national economy till 1994 but now a scourge. “Discos have been destroyed with political intervention by taking political persons and vested interests as members of its BoDs even though they may have no share and therefore stakes to improve their performance. Funds given to improve age-old infrastructure are utilised for extending low-tension lines to benefit politicians which further increases pressure on the national grid and line-losses.”

Tela Muhammad, provincial chairman of the steering committee of the Wapda Pegham union KP, said Nawas Sharif government as usual was bent upon privatising vital national assets.

“We won’t accept offers like the PTCL employees who opted for retaining jobs but are denied due rights since then. We would oppose the move tooth and nail. Privatisation will do no good to consumers as income-hungry private owners of Discos would sell electricity at exorbitant prices. It will only provide the administrative officers of Discos to prepare list of unwilling employees by dubbing them incompetent or corrupt. Privatisation endeavours with regard to feeders have failed earlier. IPPs and RPPs scandals are fresh in minds. They sold power at enormously high rates to regulator which in turn raised power tariff for the people.”

“National institutions need to be improved with the help of all concerned and not to be privatised. If there are corrupt officials, the government has all the resources to arrest, try and punish them. Every employee gives income statement to tax authorities which can be scrutinised and compared with their living style,” he added.

Donor agencies like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank have identified poor governance; political and bureaucratic interference, institutional weakness, and lack of professional management as key shortcomings of Pakistan’s PSEs urging their restructuring and privatization.

But neither privatisation nor nationalisation is solution in itself. Without some institutional and administrative reforms and improvement, any of these will invariably fail.

For many years, the power sector has been virtually in private hands. For example Pepco, headed by an independent MD, manages all the affairs of corporatized nine Discos, four Gencos and a National Transmission Dispatch Company. These companies work under independent Board of Directors (Chairman and some directors are from private Sector). These are administratively autonomous and all entities have the physical possessions of all their operational assets. But the sector’s woes have risen in the meantime.

Similarly feeders in Pesco and other Discos have been privatised in the past but contractors soon fled from the contract. People ask if privatisation of KESC has reaped any dividends. Have the consumers of Karachi benefitted? Has the government got relieved of its subsidies? The government has allocated Rs55bn out of its total power sector subsidy of Rs220bn this financial year to pick KESC tariff differential this year even though it’s long been privatised.

Without structural reforms, stringent laws to punish and deter power stealers, community participation, ending of political intervention, eradicating mismanagement and a sound policy of reward and punishment for both consumers and workers of Discos, even privatisation will be meaningless.

“The government should provide security to raiding teams. Public mind-set should be educated against power theft through media, ulema and teachers. Community intervention can be ensured by assigning areas of responsibility to local bodies’ members at ward or transformer level. Field/line staff deficiency must be removed. Workers should be given commission on extra collection beyond benchmark target at different rates,” said the senior source.

Accountability, power generation especially from hydel and gas and renewal of power infrastructure are also vital for bringing demand and supply gap and line-losses down.

Pesco’s worth and standing

Pesco, according to an estimate, is worth over Rs300bn with all its assets and liabilities.

“Pesco is incurring a loss of Rs1bn a month. Out of the total Rs6.2bn worth units billed, around Rs5bn are recovered. Its total transmission and distribution losses are over Rs75bn at present. But all this is not entirely caused by incompetence and corruption of employees. They have security problems and are attacked by powerful stealing mafia. The police is too over-stretched for the precarious security situation to escort them. Laws against power theft are toothless. A power thief is set free by fining him Rs500-1000. Now this emboldens others to follow suit,” the source said.

“Pesco’s T&D losses are officially displayed at 30-32 per cent but it in reality are 70-80 per cent. Pesco is running in loss because off its 2.7mn consumers, 87.7 per cent are domestic, 10.2 per cent are commercial, only 0.9 per cent are industrial while one per cent fall in other categories. Against this, Fesco, Lesco etc are revenue generators with minimal T&D losses as over 30-35 per cent consumers there are industrial ones. Surprisingly, the government has decided to privatize these income generating Discos,” he added.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly has in 2003, 2005, 2006 and several other occasions passed resolutions against privatisation of Pesco. Abdul Akbar Khan had told the assembly the province had already paid the total transmission and distribution cost of Pesco system,”therefore the NWFP has every right to claim the ownership of Pesco, including its assets, under Article157(2) of the Constitution.

 

English medium education in KP

A medium of change
Tahir Ali
February 2, 2014

http://tns.thenews.com.pk/medium-change/#comment-4938

Pashto, Urdu, Arabic and now English.

Will the changeover from Urdu/Pashto to English-medium schooling in KP take the intended course?

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is going to introduce English-medium schooling and a uniform curriculum in all the public sector schools from the upcoming academic session. The shift from Urdu/Pashto medium to English-medium textbooks will be completed in several phases. In the first stage commencing from this April, the students of grade one, besides English, will also study Mathematics and General Knowledge in English. With the promotion of these students to grade two, English-medium textbooks/education will also move up the ladder, if not earlier. The process will take about four to five years to reach up to secondary level.
Official sources say the government is fully prepared for the shift. “First, 400 master trainers were trained who are now busy training primary school teachers for grade one. The process will continue till mid-March and 36000 teachers will be trained this year. One teacher from each primary school will be guided on the new textbooks in ten-day workshops. For more classes later, more master trainers will be trained who would then train all the 120000 teachers in KP,” says an official privy to the process.
He says the government has prepared/printed textbooks and these will be provided well before the start of the session.
Teachers and parents say English medium education was long overdue. It will bring public sector schools at par with their private counterparts which have seen a mushroom growth in recent years. In the absence or shortage of quality English medium government schools, parents go for private schools which are increasingly getting costlier and unaffordable, they argue.
Naming them Centennial model high schools, the government had earlier converted a few government high schools to English medium status throughout the province. These schools proved a great success and have gained parents’ confidence.
The PTI activists say it will help end the decade-old class-based education, bring a uniform curriculum, remove disparities between the education standards in urban and rural areas, ensure equal opportunities for competition and progress to both the rich and the poor and will augment enrolment in government schools.
Nevertheless, changeover from Urdu/Pashto to English-medium schooling is, however, easier said than done. It is likely to bring several problems for both the students and teachers overwhelmed by an English-phobia of an extreme kind. But nothing is impossible for a resolute mind and hardworking administration. Though the government seems conscious of the gigantic challenges lying ahead, some precautions must be made.

Too ambitious for schools with no infrastructure.
Planners will not only have to select and train qualified and competent master trainers and teachers in the later stages, they also will have to prepare/supply books in time and a permanent monitoring mechanism will also have to be developed.
“We need hardworking and proficient master trainers and teachers to be able to teach maths and science in English. Without qualified and committed trainers and teachers and a robust oversight mechanism and competent monitors, the move will come to nothing. One hopes the government will be able to publish/provide textbooks in time and will induct, train and provide competent teachers for this purpose,” says Zubair Ahmad, an educationist.
“Training of teachers continues province-wide. To make the process successful, the concerned officials should ensure that a trainee teacher nearing his retirement or likely to be promoted in near future is not selected. Or at least two teachers should be trained for a class,” says a teacher.
“Some of the trainee primary teachers can hardly speak a simple sentence in English for grade one. The trainee teachers must be young, energetic, qualified (preferably graduate) and must be selected on merit without any interference from teachers’ union and politicians,” says a master trainer. “Also, primary teachers whose promotion to high schools is due shortly must never be considered for training as their departure would deprive their erstwhile schools of a teacher trained for grade one while his training would be of no use in high schools. The government should also plan and ensure follow-up activities so that teachers continue to teach to the class they were trained for,” says the trainer.
“Almost all the teachers at my centre are young. They take keen interest in the training. They are happy that English medium textbooks will improve enrolment and prospects of their students and augment their own prestige,” says another master trainer.
English-medium education is being started from grade one (Awal Aala). It means two preceding classes — the preparatory class (called Awal Adna locally) and the other called Kachi have been left out, says a teacher, Shafiq Khan. The KP government, however, recently announced playgroup classes will be started in public schools from the upcoming session.
Most developed countries have uniform system of education. But different curricula in the public and private sectors and religious madaris (seminaries) have sharply divided Pakistan. A modern/uniform curriculum is necessary to strengthen national unity and promote moderation and tolerance in the country. The PTI, in its 6-points education policy, too had promised a uniform education system if voted to power.
It requires huge funds, time, personnel, incessant work and cooperation from all the private schools and religious seminaries to have a uniform curriculum province-wide. So, the PTI has decided to bring uniform curriculum in government schools through English-medium textbooks for the moment. Private schools may be covered later. The PTI leaders argue the government and private schools follow the same syllabus for class 9 and 10, so why can’t it be the same in other classes.
One hopes the move will lead to healthy competition between the public and private schools. The government should also promote spirit of cooperation and coordination between the two.
The PTI opponents accuse it of being ‘secular’ having pro-west agenda (JUI-F leaders harp on the theory) while some analysts accuse it of taking the KP towards fundamentalism.
Following the landmark 18th Constitutional Amendment that devolved education and curriculum design to provinces, the KP government can modify its curriculum and textbooks. Textbooks lessons have been usually changed by successive governments and the PTI government is also expected to follow suit. But its leaders say they would do so in strict compliance with the 2006 national curriculum. It means there will be no major changes in curriculum introduced by the previous ANP-led government.
The ANP government had included lessons on local heroes in curriculum such as famous poets Rehman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak and Ghani Khan. They also included lessons on human rights, peace and religious tolerance and removed historic distortions, hate material and harsh sentiments against non-Muslims. The ANP activists say the Jamaat-e-Islami is now bent on reversing these changes.
The KP Elementary and Secondary Education Minister, Muhammad Atif Khan, as per newspaper reports, said Islamic ideology would be the basis of his government’s steps regarding curriculum. He said the PTI government would accept no bar on religious education and won’t tolerate external interference in this regard. He also vowed to rectify the ‘mistakes’ in present curriculum introduced by the ANP government.
The KP Information Minister Shah Farman reportedly said the KP would revise and develop curriculum as per Islamic teachings and the country’s cultural norms. He termed criminal the changes brought about by the ANP-led government (some changes he and Khan cited included the removal of Quranic verses on Jihad, mention of Kashmir as disputed land and replacement of lessons on Voice of God, Hazrat Umar and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with those on ‘The Man Who Was a Giant’, ‘Helen Keller’ and ‘Quaid-e-Azam’ etc).
“While its coalition partner — The JI — wishes to Islamise syllabi by expunging some ‘secular’ lessons from them and limit the donors’ role in policy/decision making, the civil society, opposition parties and donor agencies may dislike the move. How will the PTI deal with these conflicting viewpoints, remains to be seen,” says an ANP activist.

……………………

ORIGINAL TEXT OF THE ARTICLE

English-medium education in KP
Or
Uniform curriculum’ in KP
By Tahir Ali
The Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf led-Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is going to launch a process of introducing English-medium schooling and a uniform curriculum through it, in all the public sector schools from the upcoming academic session.
The shift from Urdu/Pashto medium to English-medium textbooks will be completed in several phases. In the first stage commencing from this April, the students of grade one, besides English, will also study Mathematics and General Knowledge in English. With the promotion of these students to class 2, English-medium textbooks/education will also move up the ladder, if not earlier. The process will take about four to five years to reach up to secondary level.
Official sources say the government is fully prepared for the shift. “First, 400 master trainers were trained who are now busy training primary school teachers for grade one. The process will continue till mid-March and 36000 teachers will be trained this year. One teacher from each primary school will be guided on the new textbooks in ten-day workshops. For more classes later, more master trainers will be trained who would then train all the 120000 teachers in KP,” said a source.
He said the government has prepared/printed textbooks and these will be provided well before the start of the session.
Teachers and parents say English medium education was long overdue. It will bring public sector schools at par with their private counterparts which have seen a mushroom growth in recent years. In the absence or shortage of quality English medium government schools, parents go for private schools but which are increasingly getting costlier and unaffordable, they argue.
Naming them Centennial model high schools, the government had earlier converted a few government high schools to English medium status throughout the province. These schools proved a great success and have gained parents’ confidence.
PTI activists say it will help end the decade-old class-based education, bring a uniform curriculum, remove disparities between the education standards in urban and rural areas, ensure equal opportunities for competition and progress to both the rich and the poor and will augment enrolment in government schools.
Nevertheless, changeover from Urdu/Pashto to English-medium schooling is however easier said than done. It is likely to bring several problems for both the students and teachers overwhelmed by an English-phobia of an extreme kind.
But nothing is impossible for a resolute mind and hardworking administration. Though the government seems conscious of the gigantic challenges lying ahead, some precautions must be made.
Planners will not only have to select and train qualified and competent master trainers and teachers in the later stages, they also will have to prepare/supply books in time and a permanent monitoring mechanism will also have to be developed.
“We need hardworking and proficient master trainers and teachers to be able to teach maths and science in English. Without qualified and committed trainers and teachers and a robust oversight mechanism and competent monitors, the move will come to nothing. One hopes the government will be able to publish/provide text books in time and will induct, train and provide competent teachers for this purpose,” said Zubair Ahmad, an educationist.
“Training of teachers continues province-wide. To make the process successful, the concerned officials should ensure that a trainee teacher nearing his retirement, having poor eye-sight or likely to be promoted in near future is not selected. Or at least two teachers should be trained for a class,” said a teacher.
“Some of the trainee primary teachers can hardly speak a simple sentence in English for grade 1. The trainee teachers must be young, energetic, qualified (preferably graduate) and must be selected on merit without any interference from teachers’ union and politicians. Also, primary teachers whose promotion to high schools is due shortly must never be considered for training as their departure would deprive their erstwhile schools of a teacher trained for grade one while his training would be of no use in high schools. The government should also plan and ensure follow-up activities so that teachers continue to teach to the class they were trained for,” said a master trainer.
“Almost all the teachers at my centre are young. They take keen interest in the training. They are happy that English medium textbooks will improve enrolment and prospects of their students and augment their own prestige,” said another master trainer.
English-medium education is being started from first grade one (Awal Aala). It means two preceding classes – the preparatory class (called Awal Adna locally) and the other called Kachi have been left out, said a teacher Shafiq Khan. The KP government however recently announced playgroup classes will be started in public schools from the upcoming session.
Most developed countries have uniform system of education. But different curricula in the public and private sectors and religious madaris (seminaries) have sharply divided Pakistan. A modern/uniform curriculum is necessary to strengthen national unity and promote moderation and tolerance in the country. PTI, in its 6-points education policy, too had promised a uniform education system if voted to power.
It requires huge funds, time, personnel, incessant work and cooperation from all the private schools and religious seminaries to have a uniform curriculum province-wide. So, PTI has decided to bring uniform curriculum in government schools through English-medium textbooks for the moment. Private schools may be covered later. PTI leaders argue the government and private schools follow the same syllabus for class 9 and 10, so why can’t it be the same in other classes.
Once hopes the move will lead to healthy competition between the public and private schools. The government should also promote spirit of cooperation and coordination between the two.
Will KP change curriculum?
PTI opponents accuse it of being ‘secular’ having pro-west agenda (JUI-F leaders harp on the theory) while analysts (e.g. Najm Sethi) accuse it of taking KP towards fundamentalism.
Following the landmark 18th constitutional amendment that devolved education and curriculum design to provinces, the KP government can modify its curriculum and textbooks. Textbooks lessons have been usually changed by successive governments and PTI government is also expected to follow suit. But its leaders say they would do so in strict compliance to the 2006 national curriculum. It means there will be no major changes in curriculum introduced by the previous ANP-led government.
The ANP government had included lessons on local heroes in curriculum such as famous poets Rehman Baba, Khushal Khan Khattak and Ghani Khan, on human rights, peace and religious tolerance and removed historic distortions, hate material and harsh sentiments against non-Muslims but, its activists say, Jamate Islami is now bent on reversing these changes.
KP elementary and secondary education minister Muhammad Atif Khan, as per newspaper reports, said Islamic ideology would be the basis of his government’s steps regarding curriculum. He said the PTI government would accept no bar on religious education and won’t tolerate external interference in this regard. He also vowed to rectify the ‘mistakes’ in present curriculum introduced by the ANP government.
KP information minister Shah Farman reportedly said KP would revise and develop curriculum as per Islamic teachings and country’s cultural norms. He termed as criminal the changes brought about by the ANP-led government (some changes he and Khan cited included the removal of Quranic verses on Jihad, mention of Kashmir as disputed land and replacement of lessons on Voice of God, Hazrat Umar and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) with those on The man who was a giant, Helen keller and Quaid-e-Azam etc).
“While its coalition partner JI wishes to Islamise syllabi by expunging some ‘secular’ lessons from them and limit the donors’ role in policy/decision making, the civil society, opposition parties and donor agencies may dislike the moves. How will PTI deal with these conflicting viewpoints, remains to be seen,” said an activist.

gur-making up in KP

Bitter realities of a sweet crop

http://tns.thenews.com.pk/bitter-realities-of-a-sweet-crop/#.Uq7hS6xsS1s

Sugarcane growers prefer making gur rather than selling the crop to mills owners

Bitter realities of a sweet crop

It is gur-making season in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, especially in Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan and Nowshera. The estimated sugarcane production in KP is around 1.3 million tonnes. Almost half of it is used for gur making. Gur produced in Charsadda and Mardan is very popular countrywide. Gur is the main sweetener for around 60 per cent people in KP and Federally and Provincially-administered tribal areas (Fata and Pata). It is exported to Afghanistan, Middle Eastern and Central Asian states where it is believed to be used as a sweetener and in winemaking.

Mardan and Peshawar are the hubs of gur trade. Around ten to twelve thousands of purs are traded in the Pipal Mandi gur market when the trade is in full swing. Gur commission agents are also very active these days.

Thousands of tonnes of gur is traded in the province or taken out of the country daily. Majority of the sugarcane growers prefer using their cane-produce for gur-making rather than taking it to mills for its comparative advantages. It fetches them good prices. They have to feed their animals with cane-grass which necessitates intermittent cutting of crop as allowed by gur-making and not simultaneous harvesting of the entire crop as demanded by the mills option. And they usually use gur in their homes. Gur is used in juices, sweets and eaten with bread as curry with bread by the poor.

In Punjab, a kind of gur, named Duplicate, is prepared by mixing gur, glucose and other ingredients. It is good-looking as well as cheaper and tasteful, according to some farmers.

While sugar-mills began crushing season in early November, gur-making is usually started in late September or early October. It lasts till April next year.

Gur prepared in the initial stage is of inferior quality but can fetch more. Late production increases yield and standard. The gur made in January, February and March is much better in quality and is liked the most. Similarly, gur without alteration is the best for human consumption while that mixed with artificial colour tastes bad, though people residing in remote areas prefer it for its bright colour. Again, the gur made from the roots of the last year’s crop is good in quality while that from fresh canes is not that good.

According to Murad Ali Khan, a farmers’ leader from Charsadda, gur is more competitive for the farmers at the current rate.

“A pur of gur (having 75-80 kilograms) fetches a price up to Rs5000 depending upon its colour, taste and quality in the local market. Sugarcane yield per acre is around 400 maunds which can produce 20 purs (a pur consumes 20-25 maunds of cane). These can earn a farmer Rs100,000 or more. It exceeds the price offered by sugar-mills these days,” he says.

According to another farmer, quality sugarcane can give as much as 40 purs per acre. But, he says, farmers in KP will only benefit from the crop when its per acre yield of 350-400 maunds is increased to that of 650-700 maunds in Punjab. At present, gur-making through rented gurganee (machines) is less beneficial for farmers while those who own ganees are the real beneficiaries,” he opines.

Muhammad Zahir Khan, another growers’ representative, says hitches in supply of gur to Fata, Pata and the ban on export of gur to Afghanistan and the central Asian states, however, have lowered gur prices of late to the detriment of gur farmers. “Gur can be a healthy addition to the countries’ depleting export earnings if its export is allowed after value addition.”

Masud Khan, the manager of the Premier Sugar Mills Mardan, says though the minimum sugarcane support price is Rs170 per 40 kilogrammes in other provinces, the local sugar mills offer Rs180. “We have to compete with gurganees. While our per kg cost of production has increased for higher prices and wages offered to farmers and employees, escalating fuel prices and various taxes, gurganees have no such taxes and responsibilities. How can we compete with them? Sugar industry will be on verge of closure if not supported,” he says. The industry has been campaigning for ban on gur export, taxes on gur industry and eventual moratorium on gur production.

Rizwanullah Khan, the president of the Kissan Board KP, however, says prices of all the things are on the rise while last year’s cane price has remained unchanged. “In 2010, mills had offered Rs240 per 40kg. Cane price be increased as per cost of production. We have planned agitation to press for good cane-prices.”

Gur was once the food of the poor. Though it has become costlier than sugar for few years now, the poor still prefer it for its taste and health benefits.

A farmer said gur agents and big farmers have installed generator-run modern gur-ganees with several furnaces which help prepare plenty of purs daily.

In 1996, average retail gur price was 14 rupees a kilo. Currently, it is sold at Rs66-75/kg. The sugarcane growers, unfortunately, haven’t been able to get advantage of this hike. Growers say the gur commission agents have devoured most of the surplus value in the shape of huge commission or deduction of 5-8kg gur/a pur.

Mardan and Peshawar are the hubs of gur trade. Around ten to twelve thousands of purs are traded in the Pipal Mandi gur market when the trade is in full swing. Gur commission agents work pretty much like the property dealers or motor vehicle bargainers who are only concerned with their commission.

“The gur agents enter advance agreements with farmers by making payments for standing crops. They provide farmers seasonal/crop-based loans which they use for buying inputs and fulfilling their domestic needs,” a farmer says.

An official of the Sugarcane Crops Research Institute said though KP’s cane has better quality and sucrose content, its average yield is between 16-24 metric tonnes, much less than that of Sindh and Punjab. He cited insufficient use of fertiliser and pesticides, non-attractive price given by mills, intercropping, use of less than recommended seed (4 ton/acre) and shortage of irrigation water as reasons for lesser acreage and production.