Although the agriculture and forest departments of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa managed to utilise 100% of their annual budgets, the housing as well as mines and minerals sectors were left lagging behind as only 8% of funds were put to use.
Up till Thursday last week, the finance department has released Rs93 billion out of Rs142 billion earmarked for the Annual Developmental Programme-2015-16 (ADP-2015-16), excluding foreign assistance, said officials of the Planning and Development department, requesting anonymity.
The government could only utilise Rs60 billion out of the funds – around 42% of the ADP. The financial year is now drawing to a close with only two months left on its calendar.
The good, the bad and the ugly
The officials were satisfied with the performance of the roads, higher education, elementary and secondary education, irrigation, forestry and agricultural sectors. A majority of them utilised 50% or more of their development funds.
However, the officials were unhappy with the performance of the housing and mines and minerals sectors as only 8% of the funds allocated towards them in the ADP were utilised.
A dismal year
“The housing department has had a dismal year,” an official said. “It has no idea what it is going on.” He explained the department had Rs956 million in ADP allocations and could utilise only 8% of the amount.
“The department committed to completing its housing schemes which would generate revenue for the government, but none of this transpired,” the official said.
He added the provincial government is not interested in the department.
About the mines and mineral department, the official said the sector had been allocated Rs626 million under the ADP, but only Rs46 million of the allotted funds were used. “This reflects poor performance especially since K-P could generate decent revenue from these resources,” he said.
The health department could use Rs2 billion of the Rs12.4 billion allocated to it. At the same time, the higher education department utilised Rs2.5 billion which was 41% of its Rs6.2 billion allocation.
Officials said Rs15 billion of the total releases were transferred for district governments and funds were non-lapsable and would be utilised.
The departments that fared well included elementary and secondary education which used 57% of development funds. The irrigation department utilised 52% of its allotted funds. Meanwhile, the agriculture and forest departments utilised 100% of their allocated ADP funds.
The plot thickens
Officials told The Express Tribune the government was facing between 30% and 35% of budget shortfall and the releases for development would be cut off at Rs100 billion.
“We can safely say the funds released will go up to Rs100 billion,” he said. “This is because of the shortage of funds due to the federal government and K-P’s own overestimation of provincial non-tax receipts.”
The officials believed if the federal government released Rs25 billion of net hydel profit arrears as promised in the current fiscal year, the shortfall could be compensated. “We are passing through the peak of our project cycles and funds are utilised very quickly in this phase,” the official said.
He was worried that news of the budget shortfall should not reach the contractors executing the projects as they would stop work due to fear of not being paid by the government.
The official added, “If we stop releases in the current phase of the cycle and the rumours reach contractors, there is serious trouble as not only will the projects be affected, but next year’s costs will also rise.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 26th, 2016.