Budget debate: K-P govt draws ire of lawmakers

Published: June 12, 2017
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K-P Assembly. PHOTO: AFP

K-P Assembly. PHOTO: AFP

PESHAWAR: The opposition in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa assembly on Sunday continued its criticism of the budget for FY2017-18, with some members of the treasury benches also lashing out at the provincial government “for destroying institutions”.

Awami National Party’s (ANP) parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak criticised the PTI-led government for leaving their development projects as throw-forward liability – the funds it will need to complete its existing development projects portfolio – for the coming government.

He said the PTI and its partners accused the ANP of corruption and called them ‘Easyload Walay’ but in their government the throw-forward liability was much less. “When the Easyload walay, as you called us, left the government the throw-forward liability was at Rs125 billion and now it has gone to Rs3,000 billion including Rs2,400 billion for the CPEC projects,” he said.

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Babak also accused the provincial government of showing CPEC projects in the budget but only making token allocations for them.

“Why is not a single CPEC project reflected in the budget? Agreements between governments are not based on verbal statements,” he said.

The ANP leader also lashed out at K-P Chief Minister Pervez Khattak for not raising the NFC award issue in the Council of Common Interests (CCI). He also criticised the federal government for not instituting the NFC award which was obligatory.

Babak also questioned the ruling party as to why Rs2 billion allocated for the Hydel Development Fund (HDF) —which is specifically designated for hydropower projects— were used in the billion tree tsunami.

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To this Minister for Energy and Power Atif Khan told Babak that the HDF money used in the billion tree tsunami project was given as loan to the forest department. He added that under the agreement the forest department will pay back the money with interest.

Meanwhile, PTI’s disgruntled MPA from Peshawar Qurban Khan walked out of the house in protest against the government and accused it of corruption and destroying institutions. He also urged the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to initiate an inquiry into the ‘corruption’ being done in Nowshera.

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) lawmaker Mehmood Khan Batani urged K-P minister for Public Health Engineering Shah Farman and Pervez Khattak to pay visit to Tank district where 10 villages are without drinking water.

Farman assured the lawmaker that he will not only visit the southern districts but would also start working for providing clean drinking water to these districts.

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Replying to the opposition criticism on loans and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) for Peshawar, Khattak said that the loans will not ruin the province. “The 20 billion extra would be used to build plazas for generating money to pay back the loan. We are making the project feasible and will be self-sustainable,” he said.

Khattak assured the assembly that he may take loan for unavoidable projects such as the procurement of missing facilities for hospitals. The CM said that the project requires Rs14 billion and added that they are executing projects on an investment basis where the contractor, not the province, has to arrange the money and that the contractor has to earn his invested money from the revenue generated from the project.

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