Budget 2017-18: Culture endowment fund to be set up

Published: June 8, 2017

PESHAWAR: To support artists and promote arts and culture in the province, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government has decided to set up a culture endowment fund.

The K-P Finance Minister Muzafar Said announced this during his budget speech on Wednesday.

Presenting K-P’s budget for the fiscal year 2017-18, the finance minister said that an arts academy would be established in Peshawar, and in the upcoming years, efforts would be made to set up art complexes in all parts of K-P.

The government has allocated a collective Rs3.14 billion for the culture, tourism, sports, youth affairs and archaeology sectors in its Annual Development Programme (ADP) which include 42 ongoing and 12 new schemes. The government has set aside Rs2.52 billion for the ongoing projects while Rs620 million have been set aside for new projects.

According to Said, these projects include working towards the preservation of the culture of the Kailash people in Chitral. “It is one of the unique cultures in the world and the government will work to maintain the Kailash’s rich cultural identity,” Said stated.

The minister went on to add that as the chief minister had announced earlier, the government is also planning to provide a monthly stipend of Rs30,000 to artists, writers and performers in need.

The government provided the stipend to artists for a year starting in 2015 but then discontinued it. Artists have been demanding that the government restart the initiative because they were going through financial difficulties because of a lack of venues in the province to perform.

Said further said that the football stadium at Peshawar’s Qayyum Sports Complex would be renovated and upgraded to international standards. Additionally, to promote hockey in the province, Astroturf will be installed in fields in DI Khan, Swat, Kohat and Charsadda.

The sector would alos be getting Rs10,000 as a foreign loan.

Boosting tourism

The government also announced that a provincial tourism authority will be established to encourage tourism and provide access for visitors to K-P’s less developed scenic areas.

Talking about one such area, Shaikh Badin in DI Khan, Said explained that the region is one of the most beautiful places in the province but has no tourism because of lack of facilities and infrastructure. He announced the government would develop Shaikh Badin to turn it into a tourist hotspot.

Apart from Kailash culture, the government would work on exploring excavation and publication of archaeological sites and promotion of archaeological activities in the province.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2017.

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