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PESHAWAR: Since the establishment of the Internal Support Unit (ISU), the Finance Department and KP Government has made remarkable progress in addressing several public sector reform challenges, said white paper on KP budget for financial year 2022-23.

The Finance Department after consultations with Chief Minister, Chief Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary has established the analytical unit within the department under the chairmanship of the Finance Minister. This unit’s hiring was done through an extensive, strenuous, and tiered recruitment processes and scrutinized by all relevant stakeholders through a examination followed by an interview and case study case. The impact of the unit has been visible through improvement in key indicators and achievement of new milestones by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. As envisioned in the summary that was approved by the Chief Minister in 2019.

The objectives of the unit are to provide research, analytical and communications support to the government. It also provides operational support to department, by putting in place a skill set not accessible to the government typically. Although located in the Finance Department, ISU’s support has been spread across multiple departments and offices, including the Chief Minister’s office. The type of support provided by ISU to these offices and departments included problems solving, quantitative analysis, delivery and communications. The analytical and delivery support of the unit to the government has resulted in tangible improvements in key indicators and the achievements of new milestones.

Through institutional reforms, rigorous monitoring and in-depth data analysis, 2019-20 progressed as a year of record revenue growth of 65% (17.2 billion collections) for the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority (KPRA). The authority surpassed the revenue benchmark of Rs.20.8 billion for FY 2020-21, which implies a growth of over 100% in two years and reached Rs.30 billion benchmark in FY 2021-22.

Through the support of the unit, Finance Department has also helped developed a new annual development programme (ADP) release policy approved by the cabinet, resulting in an increase in budget release from Rs.24 billion in December 2019 to Rs.72 billion in January 2020 followed by a substantial rise in ADP spending during January and February of 2020, more than twice of the previous year in the same period.

The department also identified several additional revenue resources and one of them of Rs.7.5 billion through a comprehensive accounting of Net Hydel Profit (NHP); Rs.5.5 billion through provincial government operated hydro power stations. It also supported the revision of the Scheduled for New Expenditure (SNE) process resulting in the creation of 13,000 new service delivery posts such as teachers, health workers, agriculture and local government staff. Rs 15billion savings achieved by filtering out unnecessary and redundant posts.

The unit has also helped Finance Department in identification of underutilized Auqaf Properties and proposed business plans to increase annual revenue from Rs.15.6 million to Rs.230 million, without any additional cost to the provincial government. This has the potential to increase revenue 14 items from these underutilized properties.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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