PESHAWAR: The provincial government has decided on heavy allocations for four key public sectors, including education, youth developments, communication and tourism, in the upcoming budget for the fiscal year 2019-20.
Chairing the second day of the final consultative meeting on the Annual Development Programme 2019-20, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan directed the provincial education department to include the construction of a medical college in the Kurram tribal district in the next Annual Development Programme 2019-20. The chief minister has also directed to include Green Waziristan and Green Bajaur schemes under the Billion Tree Afforestation project in the next budget.
Mahmood further directed to include the construction of the Tal-Mir Ali Road in North Waziristan and the construction of a hostel for members of the provincial assembly in Peshawar. This hostel will host the newly elected lawmakers from the tribal districts in the ADP 2019-20.
The K-P chief minister was told that a plan to upgrade some 200 basic health units (BHUs) to comprehensive health units (CHUs) has been included in ADP 2019-20. Moreover, he was told that Type-B hospitals in Bajaur, Wana and Kurram tribal districts will be upgraded to Type-A hospitals.
Mahmood directed the health department to include schemes in the upcoming ADP for free provision of medicine and emergency treatment in all the hospitals of the province, including hospitals in the newly merged tribal districts.
The meeting was told that surface irrigation schemes, the building of water reservoirs and solarisation of all existing irrigation tube wells in the tribal districts have been included in ADP 2019-20.
For forest department projects, he directed afforestation on the banks of canals and planting pine trees on hill stations throughout the province.
The meeting was briefed in detail regarding the expected throw-forward and rationalisation measures necessary to save up fiscal space.
The Irrigation, Communications and Works (C&W), Agriculture, Wildlife and Forests, Health, Science and Information Technology, Transport, Minerals, Excise and Taxation, and Energy and Power departments gave detailed presentations on their proposed Annual Development Plans for the year 2019-20.
The K-P chief minister further directed the departments to adopt an effective and result-oriented strategy aimed at maximising the utilisation of resources in order to rationalise the expenditure and ensure extended services delivery.
The meeting was attended by Senior Minister Atif Khan, Finance Minister Taimoor Saleem Jhagra, Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai, Local Government Minister Shahram Tarakai, Forests Minister Ishtiaq Urmar, Irrigation Minister Liaquat Khattaq, Food Minister Qalandar Lodhi, Special Assistant to CM on Energy and Power Himatullah Khan, Additional Chief Secretary Dr Shehzad Bangash, Principal Secretary to CM Shahab Ali Shah, concerned departmental secretaries and other officials.
Talking with The Express Tribune over budgetary issues, the provincial Finance Minister Jaghra said that the provincial cabinet had identified four sectors in their budgetary debates for special focus. These include education, communication, tourism and youth employment sectors apart from allocating Rs100 billion for use in the newly merged districts.
"It will be a historic moment when the provincial government tables the budget for the newly merged districts of K-P,” Jhagra said, as he went on to suggest that the final outlay of the provincial budget will be closer to Rs850 billion.
Further, Jhagra said that they have been directed by the chief minister to minimise and control the throw-forward process in the governance and also aim to accommodate new development projects, to put the province on the path to development
“Through the Sehat Sahulat card, we will provide free health facilities to the public,” Jhagra said.
He added that they have a have record allocations for the education sector this year. Moreover, he said that they were looking to explore new tourism opportunities in the province and the budgetary allocation for it has been improved.
On an inquiry, the finance minister stated that they were spending more on infrastructure development projects in the 2019.20 budget.
He expressed the hope that they could secure additional funds for projects in newly merged districts.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 4th, 2019.
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