ISLAMABAD  -  Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said yesterday that federal government would extend all possible assistance to tribal districts (erstwhile Fata) to fulfill its needs.

Chairing a meeting to review social and economic needs of the merged districts of erstwhile Federally Administrated Tribal Areas (FATA), he said federal government would also support Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in its endeavors to work for the social and economic development of the merged districts.

Giving presentation, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra, briefed the meeting about the financial requirements of the merged districts of the province. He said that Fata development funds would be utilised for uplift of the social sector particularly health and education of the former tribal agencies, besides improving road and electricity infrastructure in the area.

The adviser informed the meeting that the federal government would extend all possible assistance to erstwhile Fata. He assured the meeting that Ministry of Finance would timely process releasing of funds for the merged districts. The meeting was informed that the federal government had disbursed sufficient funds for rehabilitation of temporarily displaced persons (TDPs) of the former tribal agencies. The meeting was attended by Adviser on Establishment Mohammad Shehzad Arbab, KP Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra, Finance Secretary Naveed Kamran Baloch and other senior officials of Ministry of Finance.

PAKISTAN, AUSTRALIA SIGN MEMORANDUM OF SUBSIDIARY ARRANGEMENT

In a separate development, Pakistan and Australian governments have signed Memorandum of Subsidiary Arrangement for Developing Competitive and Inclusive Value Chain of Pulses in Pakistan.

Secretary Economic Affairs Division Noor Ahmed and Australian High Commissioner Ms. Margaret Adamson signed the memorandum to support development of socially inclusive and competitive value chains of chickpeas, lentils and mung beans in Punjab and Sindh, with spill-over effects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project will be implemented over a period of three years till June 2021.From Australian side, University of Tasmania while from Pakistani side, Pakistan Agricultural Research Council, University of Agriculture Faisalabad, COMSATS Institute of Technology and Sindh Agriculture University of Pakistan will be the implementing agencies.Contributions from the government of Australia will be A$ 478,825 and Pakistan will contribute in kind at an estimated value of A$ 158,171. Pulses industry infrastructure in Pakistan remains underdeveloped. Pakistani government has recently proposed greater investment in pulses related research and extension, along with new pulses production projects.The project will identify and analyze barriers, opportunities and options for developing inclusive competitive pulses value chain, strengthen capacities of pulses industry stakeholders. Improvement of pulses value chain will support Pakistan government’s agriculture development vision and policies and complement ongoing pulses projects in Pakistan.