PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government Friday unveiled a tax -free and relief oriented budget for financial year 2021-22, with a total outlay of Rs 1.118 trillion, setting aside a record amount of Rs 371 billion for the next Annual Development Programme. Presenting the KP government third budget for next fiscal year on the floor of the provincial assembly, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Finance, Taimoor Saleem Khan Jhagra said no new tax has been imposed in the provincial budget and relief would be provided to masses.
The Minister said that the budget expenditures for the next financial year is estimated at Rs 1.118 trillion. He said Rs 199 billion has been allocated for the integrated tribal districts, Rs 371 billion for annual development program and Rs 100 billion for tribal districts for annual development program.
The special budget session was chaired by provincial assembly speaker Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, which was also attended by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan. The minister said pension expenditure has increased by 100% in the last few years. He elaborated that the pension expenditure was only 1% of the budget in 2004-05, now it is 13.8%. The system is being reformed to reduce pension expenditure, the Minister of Finance Taimur Saleem Jhagra added.
The minimum retirement age in the province is 55 years and the service limit is 25 years, he informed. He said such an initiative will save Rs. 12 billion annually. He said, changing the pension rules and reducing the number of pension beneficiaries will save Rs 1 billion annually while the pensions of deceased employees will be given to their widows, parents or children.
He said, widows' pension is being increased by 100% instead of 75% and the provincial government is making reforms for contributory pensions. The minimum monthly wage of laborers in the province has been raised to Rs 21,000, he said in his speech. Out of total Rs371 billion ADP 2021-22, KP government earmarked Rs270.7 billion for settled districts and Rs100.3 billion for merged tribal districts. Likewise, Rs648.3 billion earmarked for settled districts and Rs 99 billion for merged districts in total allocation of Rs747.3 billion for current budget expenditure.
Jhagra said the present budget was based on five main pillars including a record increase in salaries of government employees, development budget, devoted services to people, increasing KP’s own resource revenue and introduction of goal oriented reforms and innovation in the overall governance system. He said two innovative approaches ‘development plus budget’ and ‘service delivery budget’ were being introduced under which Rs500 billion would be spent on former focusing on mega projects such as Sehat Plus Cards, provision of furniture to Govt schools and increase in medicines budget to public sector hospitals while Rs424 billion out of Rs747 billion would be spent on the latter with priorities to payment of salaries of doctors, nurses, and teachers besides provision of medicines to hospitals and fuels to Rescue1122 ambulances.
About generation of income and revenue during 2021-22, the minister said Rs 1018 billion revenue and income target was set for FY 2021-22 that would be achieved from different financial resources, duties and taxes. He said Rs475.6 billion would be collected through federal taxes, Rs57.2 billion through federal divisible pool of 1pc share under terrorism affected province, Rs26.5 billion under Gas and Oil royalty and surcharge (direct transfer), Rs74.7 billion under hydel new profit (according to MoU 2015-16) and arrears.
A sum of Rs 75billion for provincial tax and non-tax revenue, Rs85.8 billion through foreign development assistance (for settled areas) and Rs3.3 billion foreign development assistance (for merged areas), Rs187.7billion under special assistance grant for the merged areas and Rs132.5billion from other revenue resources.
About details of expenditure budget during FY2020-21, the minister said a total of Rs374 billion would be spent on salaries including Rs60billion in merged areas and Rs314 billion in settled districts. Similarly Rs92.1 billion would be utilized for payment of pension including Rs0.1billion for merged areas and Rs92billion for settled districts. Besides salaries, Rs203.9billion would be spent for operation and maintenance expenditures, emergencies and district expenses including Rs38.9billion for merged areas and Rs164.9 billion while Rs74.4billion for other current expenditures.
A total of Rs 244.6billion proposed for expenditures under Provincial Development Program including Integrated Implementation Program (AIP) for merged areas, he said, adding Rs 17.4billion earmarked for Annual Development Program including Rs 2.4billion for merged areas and Rs 85.8billion for settled districts while a record Rs 19.9billion to be obtained from Federal government PSDP. The salaries of all government employees except those who didn’t get special allowances are being increased by 37 percent, including 20 percent increase in Functional or Sectoral Allowance, 10 percent increase in Ad hoc Relief Allowance, 7 percent in house rent for those employees who don’t benefited from government’s accommodation scheme.
Jhagra said 100% increase in pension expenditure has been witnessed in the last couple of years and the share of pensions, which was only 1% in 2003-04 had jumped to record 13.8 percent of total budget in 2021-22.
To overcome pension expenses, he said two proposals including an increase in upper age limit of Govt employees i.e. 55 years for early retirement up or completion of 25years service were under consideration that would save Rs 12 billion per year.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has earmarked a record Rs371billion under the Annual Development Program for financial year 2021-22, which is 10.4% higher than last year’s development budget of Rs. 318 billion. The government has increased Science and Technology budget by 137 percent, allocating Rs2.5 billion with major projects including establishment of citizens facilitation centers, early age childhoods program, and construction of model science laboratories and schools.
Similarly, Rs48.2billion would be spent on construction of 3,000km roads including Peshawar-DI Khan motorway, Swat Motorway Phase II, Haripur Bypass and Peshawar-Torkham Motorway during FY2021-22. A record Rs13.2billion allocated for the agriculture sector with major projects includes promotion of olive cultivation, establishment of trout fish villages in Malakand and Hazara divisions and Rs800 million for Prime Minister’s Industrial Emergency Program.
The government decided to revive Torkham Safari Train Service to promote tourism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Rupees 1 billion earmarked for development and welfare of women with major projects include revival of women commission with allocation of Rs100million budget, establishment of Cadet College for girls in Mardan, allocation of 5% quota for women in SIDP ‘Akhowat’ Program and provision of interest-free loan to all register women entrepreneurs. Rupees 100 million grants are proposed for senior citizens enabling them to get treatment in hospitals’ special counters and wards. The minister said the government believed in uniform development of all districts and announced to establish Pak-Austria Educational Institute in Haripur, Hattar Industrial Zone, Pakistan Digital City in Haripur, 870MW Seki-Kinari Hydropower Project, 300MW Balakot HPP in Hazara Division while in merged areas, Mohmand Marble City, and Kurram-Tangi and Bara Dams would be constructed.
In Southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Peshawar-DI Khan Motorway, new buildings for Bannu Medical College, Chashma Right Left Canal, Bannu Economic Zone, Daraband Economic Zone in DI Khan and University of Lakki Marwat would be established.
Swat-Motorway Phase-II, Peshawar-DI Khan Motorway, Small Industry Estate, establishment and setting up of a Special Technical Zone would be achieved through public and private partnership through collaboration of government and private sector.
The development budget of Culture and Tourism Department has been increased to Rs12billion against Rs2billion in last fiscal year under which Integrated Tourism Zones, Hund Water Park on 400Kanal land, establishment of Rs3.8billion innovation fund, first motor sports arena of Pakistan and construction of Arbab Niaz Stadium in Peshawar and Kalam Cricket Stadium would be completed.
KP government has allocated Rs1billion for local bodies elections, Rs2.8billion for extension in Rescue1122 service in Tehsil level besides Rs 60million earmarked for purchase of 50 vehicles and other equipment for 25 TMAs of merged areas.
A big amount set aside for Water and Sanitation Services Program, construction of new general bus stands on 345 Kanal in Peshawar, completion of Peshawar Northern Bypass, establishment of 2900 tube-wells to provide clean drinking water to 8.4million people, construction of lawns and roadside green belts in 25 cities and pavement of streets on 480,000 square feet under civil development portfolio would be achieved.
The Minister said 111 percent increase in the allocated amount for provision of medicine in hospitals of settled districts were registered besides establishment of four hospitals under Public Partnership with allocation of Rs40billion. Likewise, Rs10.5billion allocated for investment to improve services in category-C hospitals in KP while Rs25billion for Medical Teaching Institutions and Rs7billion for medical colleges, having a total investment of Rs42billion allocated.
He said Rs1billion would be spent on strengthening, rehabilitation and provision of round the clock services to patients at Rural Health Centers in KP and Rs1.2million for up-gradation of basic structure, Rs1.5million for increase in provision of medicines and Rs2.6million for better health services in the province.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021