KARACHI - The speakers, at a seminar, have demanded that an independent 'National Finance Commission should immediately be constitution as provincial autonomy sans financial powers will not bring about the desired results. However, they also emphasised on government that before initiating deliberations on NFC, the sales tax and custom duty should be returned back to the provinces as these two levies were provincial taxes after independence in 1947. The seminar was organised by Sindh Independent Media Association (SIMA) in collaboration with Actionaid Pakistan titled National Finance Commission and Demands of Small Federating Units. Sindh Assembly Speaker Nisar Ahmed Khuhro was the chief guest, while Sindh Minister for Information Department Shazia Marri, Provincial Minister and MQM Parliamentary Leader in Sindh Assembly Syed Sardar Ahmed, and political leaders, civil society activists and political workers attended the seminar in large number. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, while addressing the seminar, said that during 60 years history of the Pakistan, only two NFC awards came with consensus. The 1997 NFC award announced by caretaker government created havoc for federating units as share of provinces was reduced to minority from majority, he remarked, adding that the then President Farooq Leghari signed the controversial NFC award in 1997, just two day before the swearing in of Nawaz Sharif as second term PM. He also emphasized for financial powers for provinces under new NFC award, which should be based on multiple factors of population, revenue collection, area and backwardness and termed that provincial autonomy would not make any positive affect without financial powers. He also quoted a resolution unanimously passed by the Sindh Assembly in 2003, which recommended that net divisible taxes pool should be distributed between the federation and provinces in the ratio of 55% and 45% respectively, while federation should be entitled to receive its 55% share from the provinces on the basis of their population, and said that this resolution may be the reaction of the Sindh province against the delay in the new NFC award. Khuhro also said that Pakistan was created with a resolution of Sindh Assembly, so the resolutions of same assembly must be honoured with same spirit that relates to various issues of the province. Syed Sardar Ahmed also demanded that custom duty and sales tax must be returned back to the provinces as both taxes were provincial property. He pointed out that during 2002 to 2005 as finance minister; he had proposed various formulas of resource distribution among provinces based on multiple factors, but unfortunately Punjab and NWFP did not accept any of them. He also highlighted the importance of the provincial autonomy and termed that no equitable distribution of resources under NFC award is seen without provincial autonomy. He said that the reduction in unemployment and poverty is also connected with equitable distribution of resources. He further said that Punjab province has created vested interest under resource distribution based on sole criteria of population, so it would not give up its interest. He also demanded that at least 5 per cent of GDP should be spent on education as demand is a part of party manifesto of both coalition parties, the PPP and MQM. Shazia Marri said that the present government is on right track as it has already buried the controversial project of Kala Bagh Dam forever, while NFC commission and Council of Common Interest were also constituted. She hoped that dialogue on new NFC award has started, while gradually all the issues would be settled amicably, but she also made it clear that Sindh government would not give up its principle stand regarding multiple factors based resource distribution among the provinces. Former Senator and National Party leader Tahir Bizanjo said that transparent resource of distribution under NFC is not possible under current structure of state of Pakistan. Barrister Zamir Ghumro discussed the constitutional aspects of NFC award and said that independent commission is inevitable for equitable resource distribution of resources. He also said that the share of federal govt must be narrowed as major functions and developmental activities come under the domain of provinces. Adam Malik, Mazhar Leghari, Advocate Hafeezuddin and others also shared their views.