PESHAWAR: The provincial cabinet on Sunday approved an Rs657 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year 2019-20 and decided to unveil it next month on June 13, wherein it has decided to give concessions on property taxes for medium-sized houses of five and ten Marlas.
This was decided in a special meeting of the provincial cabinet which met in Peshawar with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan in the chair.
In the meeting, K-P Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra briefed the cabinet on the salient features of the upcoming provincial budget. It was disclosed that in the first budget paper approved by the provincial cabinet in February, it had estimated revenues of Rs605.508 billion.
In the second budget paper, approved on Sunday, this figure had gone up by a percentage point to Rs657.251 billion.
Jhagra also detailed the new taxes which will be introduced and measures to provide relief to the public under the property tax concession programme. The cabinet was told that current expenditures for the year 2019-20 are estimated at Rs657.251 billion, slightly up from last year’s Rs648 billion.
The development programme, though, will be limited to an estimated Rs122 billion, down from the Rs180 billion earmarked for the sector last year.
However, this year’s budget will see around Rs53.884 billion from the overall budget reserved for the merged tribal districts. Of this, an estimated Rs33 billion have been reserved for development.
During the meeting, the cabinet okayed the use of provincially-owned helicopters by the officials of the provincial government.
In a short media talk after the meeting, Mahmood stated that the provincial cabinet will have good news for residents of the province in the next provincial budget.
He added that every department will be given a timeline to play its role in revenue generation to ensure that the province achieves its goal of self-sufficiency.
K-P Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai said that they had tried to give relief to the impoverished masses of the province. In this regard, he said that they were aiming to offer tax exemptions for owners of houses which were between five and ten marlas.
“We have introduced changes in the taxes framework for those taxis which fall under the ambit of the provincial government, while we have designed to bring taxes to affordable levels, while the poor of the society have been given relief in the next year budget,” the provincial finance minister stated.
To a question, the provincial finance minister stated that they have tried to keep new taxes to a minimum in the new budget.
He added that the provincial cabinet has approved the usage of the provincially owned helicopters by provincial ministers, advisers and aides. Senior officials of the provincial government can also use the helicopters but after seeking approval from the provincial chief minister, Yousafzai stated, adding that the cabinet had also decided to outsource the operation and repair work on the government-owned helicopters.
Earlier during the cabinet meeting, the finance secretary presented a report on the provincial ministries and institutions who had failed to utilize their allocated budgets during the ongoing fiscal year.
Yousafzai later told the media that the chief minister has directed each minister to check the performance of their ministry every three months.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 27th, 2019.
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