The Punjab government spent just Rs0.15 per child on education in 2011-12, down from Rs308.79 per child a year earlier, according to a report made by Save the Children. The same year, Balochistan spent Rs774.28 per child.
The Punjab government’s spending on child health rose from Rs18.85 per child per year in 2010-11 to Rs27.53 in 2011-12, while spending on social welfare rose more than tenfold from Rs2.28 in 2010-2011 to Rs27.1 in 2011-2012, the NGO report stated.
“Children under the age of 18 make up more than 48 per cent of Pakistan’s population, but a brief glimpse at the budget for the year 2011-2012 shows that child-focussed schemes and programmes continue to struggle to make a place for themselves in the mainstream budgetary agenda,” said the report.
The report states that the provinces had received greater autonomy, via the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, and greater resources, through the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, but budgetary allocations for children had not improved much.
“Though revenues increased by 22.2 per cent in 2011-2012 from the previous year, there has been no substantial increase in the total budget expenditures on child health, child education and child social welfare,” said the report.
The report states that in 2011-2012, only 1 per cent of foreign assistance received in the forms of loans and grants had been allocated on child-focussed schemes. In 2010-11, a large portion of the health budget was diverted to relief and rehabilitation activities for flood-affected people. It urges civil society to lobby for the allocation of more funds for children. Wajahat Ali Farooqi of Save the Children said that the Punjab government had not complied with international commitments or national commitments. He said that the Punjab government’s tax system was weak, which meant it had to borrow from banks and countries.
He said that in 2012-13, budget allocations for education, health and social welfare had decreased from 2011-12: education from 5.961 percent to 4.946 percent, health from 4.823 percent to 4.576 percent, and social welfare from 0.64 percent to 0.516 percent.
He said spending per child had improved dramatically in 2012-13, but the spending on child-focussed education was still just 3.323 per cent of total expenditure. Child-focused health and social welfare expenditures were only 0.214 per cent and 0.053 per cent, he said.
He said spending on child healthcare was also “dismal” as it had decreased almost 100 per cent. There had been a very small increase in the social welfare expenditure for children.
Sindh spent Rs280.37 per year per child on education in 2011-12 and Rs283.31 in 2011-2012. It spent Rs0.085 per child on health in 2011-2012 and Rs0.067 in 2010-2011, Social welfare spending rose from Rs2.29 per child in 2010-2011 to Rs2.97 in 2011-12.
KP spent Rs114 per child on education in 2010-11 and Rs122.048 in 2011-2012; Rs1,323.509 per child on health in 2010-11 and Rs1,757.192 in 2011-2012; and Rs4.411 per child on social welfare in 2011-2012, up from Rs0.0031 in 2010-2011.
Balochistan spent Rs 691.54 per child on education in 2010-2011 and Rs774.28 in 2011-2012; Rs681.61 per child on health in 2011-2012; and Rs36.93 per child on social welfare in 2010-2011 and Rs0.7 in 2011-12.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2012.