In a crunch: Opposition calls K-P budget unplanned, unrealistic

Finance minister denies reports of ADP being frozen, says politicians should keep calm


Sohail Khattak January 25, 2016
Finance minister denies reports of ADP being frozen, says politicians should keep calm. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR:


As the financial crisis in the province unravels, members of opposition parties in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly are raising questions about the government’s “ambitious budget estimates”.


Awami National Party (ANP) deputy parliamentary leader Syed Jaffar Shah while talking to The Express Tribune called the provincial budget “ambitious, unplanned and unrealistic.” Shah said, “It is an injustice and cruelty against the province.” He referred towards news reports regarding the revenue shortfall and its impact on the Annual Development Programme (ADP), which some fear might be frozen due to a shortage of funds, he said.

“I can’t understand how the government prepared the estimated. It seems as if they did it with closed eyes,” Shah said. “I feel sorry for the experts who claim to have a hand in the planning of
the budget.”



He added opposition parties have requisitioned a session of the assembly on the Bacha Khan University attack in which they would also take up the issue of the overestimated budget.

“They claimed to revamp K-P and turn it into a model province, but the old was better than the new one being worked upon by the incumbent provincial government,” Shah said.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) deputy parliamentary leader Arbab Akbar Hayat said the opposition raised objections over the revenue estimates during the budget proceedings and would raise their concerns again once the house meets. “The government shot arrows in the dark and when we asked about the unrealistic amounts mentioned in the budget, they said they were getting funds from donors,” Hayat said.

He added last year a large portion of the ADP remained unutilised. “If the shortfall affects the ADP, it would be an injustice towards the people of the province.”

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) lawmaker Shah Hussain Khan said the government took advantage of the opposition’s boycott of the budget session and passed the finance bill without any hiccups.

“Net Hydel Profit (NHP) arrears to be paid by the Centre to the provincial government are still pending,” Shah said. The government was also expecting Rs8 billion from the forest department from the sale of timber, but that amount has also not been generated, he added.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) lawmaker Sahibzada Sanaullah criticised the government’s policy of hiring consultants in development projects, calling it a waste of money. “These consultants take about 13% to 17% in commissions to provide their expertise. The government should stop hiring consultants if it is serious in overcoming the budget shortfall,” he said.

The provincial government has failed in achieving its goals and is progressing at a snail’s pace to utilise ADP, he added.

The government says

Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said expressed his satisfaction with the federal government that has yet to pay K-P the arrears of the NHP, and the current year’s NHP under the uncapped rates.

Said, who was in a meeting with members of the National Finance Commission (NFC) in Islamabad on Monday, said the provincial government has presented its demands before the federal government and asked it to release the NHP immediately. “We have asked the federal government to increase our share in the NFC award as our region is the battleground for the war on terror, along with completing the 9th NFC immediately,” said Said.

He added the federal government was going to ensure Rs18 billion would be paid to K-P for NHP along with the arrears. “If we get the funds [from the federal government], there will be no shortfall,” he said.

Regarding the reaction of the opposition and reports of freezing of ADP, he said, “The opposition should stop making noise and should wait until the last quarter of the fiscal year is completed.  It should then ask about the status of the ADP. We are not freezing the ADP,” he said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th,  2016.

COMMENTS (1)

Abdullah | 5 years ago | Reply What else to expect from immature people making budgets.KPK gov is full of people who can talk talk and talk but when it comes to doing work they cannot.We need action.Hire educated and competent people Mr khattak no more parchi walas. enough of your sifarish wala.Now stop destroying KPK.
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