The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led provincial government will announce its first budget for fiscal year 2013-2014 today (Monday).
K-P Minister for Finance Sirajul Haq of the Jamaat-e-Islami is going to present the document before the provincial assembly. While the exact amount of the proposal is to be revealed on the floor of the house, an official requesting anonymity said the figure would range between Rs305 and Rs310 billion. However, due to budgetary cuts by the federal government during the current fiscal year, the budget for the coming fiscal year might run into a deficit, he added.
On Saturday, Qaumi Watan Party’s (QWP) parliamentary leader in the K-P Assembly Sikandar Sherpao told journalists there would be some difficulties in managing the new fiscal year to the satisfaction of elected representatives.
Implying that the new budget may have been drafted by the bureaucracy in its entirety, Sherpao said the newly-appointed provincial government did not have adequate time to pore over pressing concerns and prioritise. He also said 90% of the provincial budget depends on the federal budget and until the latter is revealed, the former cannot be prepared to the people’s satisfaction.
Sources told The Express Tribune assembly speaker Asad Qaiser chaired a meeting attended by parliamentary leaders of all the parties a few days earlier to ensure a healthy debate over the budget and its consequent implementation.
The budget proposals for the outgoing fiscal year (2012-2013) were projected to be around Rs303 billion, including receipts from the federal government amounting to Rs241 billion, which were later decreased by Rs37 billion. “This time around, Rs251 billion is included in the provincial budget as receipts from the federal government,” said an official privy to the matter.
Along with the cut in projected receipts from the centre, the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) also failed to make payments related to net hydel profits to the K-P government on time, resulting in financial imbalances, he added. “Liabilities owed by Wapda to K-P have reached Rs7.5 billion, which include Rs1.5 billion for the fiscal year 2011-2012 and Rs6 billion for FY 2012-2013,” said the official.
In the past, Finance Minister Sirajul Haq has repeatedly expressed resentment over the failure of the Awami National Party-led government in K-P for its inability to secure adequate net hydel profits from the centre. He even promised a reasonable increase in its volume after being elected into power.
Similarly, the PTI has time and again spoken of increasing allocations for social sectors such as health and education in accordance with the party’s agenda of turning Pakistan into a welfare state.
But despite the criticism leveled against the previously ruling parties, insiders in the finance department say the new budget will include most of the budgetary proposals made by the last government and the caretaker setup headed by Justice (retd) Tariq Pervaiz. They added PTI leaders and coalition partners also proposed some changes in line with the promises and commitments made by them to their respective electorates.
Official sources said the provincial government has decided to continue welfare and economic schemes initiated by the previous governments. These include the Bacha Khan Khpal Rozgaar Scheme and Bacha Khan Hunarmand Scheme which are run through Bank of Khyber.
In addition, there is an increase expected in the salaries of government employees, said one official, adding: “The proposed raise in salaries for government employees will be up to 15%.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2013.
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