PESHAWAR: With the second half of the fiscal year having commenced, it has emerged that the provincial local government ministry has spent a mere 13 per cent of its allocated development budget so far.
Budget documents for the fiscal year 2019-20, available with The Express Tribune, show that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Local Government (LG) Ministry had failed to utilise the Rs8.3 billion allocated for it.
Even from the money that was spent, the ministry has yet to spend a single penny on projects to provide clean drinking water or a sewerage system, documents from the K-P Finance Department revealed.
The budget documents showed that of the Rs8.3 billion in development funds allocated for the local government, nearly half of the allocated sum, or Rs3.85 billion had been released in the first half of the fiscal year. However, the department spent a paltry Rs0.96 billion of this.
K-P government had allocated Rs70 million for setting up fruits and vegetable markets, Rs140 million for tehsil-level bus terminals, Rs90 million to set up slaughter-houses at the tehsil level, Rs100 million for the provision of gas at the tehsil level, Rs140.5 million for public parks at the tehsil level, and Rs20 million for local bodies system implementation.
The provincial government had also allocated Rs30 million for a public awareness programme about the new local bodies system, Rs150 million for a new sewerage system in the Khalabut township, Rs150 million under the USAID municipalities services programme, Rs167 million for building funeral grounds in the provincial capital, Rs150 million for district water supplies schemes and sewerage systems, Rs68.6 million for community programmes at the district level, and Rs900 million for the construction of the new Peshawar bus terminal.
The budget documents further showed that the provincial government has also allocated a budget for the development of rural areas. Moreover, Rs2.5 million were allocated for road construction, Rs1.52 billion for local government and community programmes, Rs110.1 million for municipalities services, and Rs320.5 million for the Swabi district development programme.
However, none of these projects has been initiated thus far.
The budget documents further showed that water supplies in Tandyani, Khanpur, Changa Gali, in Haripur district have yet to be initiated.
One potential use of the allocated sum was to hold local government elections. The previous local government completed its tenure on August 26, 2019, but fresh elects have yet to be held after the provincial government decided to amend the local bodies law. Hence, the allocated Rs150 million for the elections have yet to be released.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 14th, 2020.