Talking big numbers: ‘Budget outlay to be over Rs470 billion’

Finance minister hopes to create thousands of public sector jobs


Sohail Khattak June 04, 2015
Finance minister hopes to create thousands of public sector jobs.. CREATIVE COMMONS

PESHAWAR:


The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has announced its fiscal budget is estimated to be Rs472 billion for the year 2015-16, including Rs124 billion for development schemes.


K-P Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said, along with Finance Secretary Syed Said Badshah Bukhari, told the media during a pre-budget briefing on Thursday that the government was awaiting feedback from the federal government.



He said the budgets of different departments such as local government, elementary and secondary education, higher education and health would be increased at different rates. Compared to the previous budget, the health department is likely to see a rise of 19%, while the police; judiciary and administration of justice; higher education; social welfare and special education as well as local government departments are to see increases of 14%, 13%, 18%, 51% and 90%, respectively.

Employment opportunities

The minister said the government would try to create 10,000 job vacancies in the education department in upcoming fiscal year. In the health department, the aim is to create 2,000 vacancies for both male and female nurses to address the shortage of staff at basic health units and hospitals. Altogether, the K-P government plans on creating 159,000 jobs in all sectors and the youth will be encouraged to join.

“We wish to do much more to be in the lead from all provinces, but we have a shortage of resources,” Said added.

Said further said he had listened to the suggestions of parliamentarians, administrative secretaries, representatives of the KPCCI as well as government servants, teachers and retired civil servants in pre-budget consultations.

Questions that need answering

During the question answer session, the minister and secretary finance said the government would utilise 90% of the current development budget by the end of this month.

For 2014-15, the province received Rs35 billion for the ADP from foreign donors, but there were speculations that this year’s international aid would be less than the previous budget. Replying to a question, the secretary said foreign aid is expected to be around Rs28 billion. “It varies from year to year and the donors have their conditions which the government has to meet and we also have our own. Once agreed, the foreign aid arrives,” he said.

Regarding the budget deficit and shortfall, he said the main portion of the province’s budget comes from tax receipts of the federal government. “The receipts make 93% of the total K-P budget.”

Said added at the start of the year, the federal government was to provide the K-P government with their 9.1% share from Rs2.8 trillion worth of tax receipts from the whole country. However, due to the decline in oil prices, the federal government could not meet its target and revised its estimates by midyear to Rs2.6 trillion.

Said hoped to get a substantial sum from the already cut and confiscated timber in the province if it is sold in the market in a transparent manner. The minister and finance secretary both revealed no new taxes would be levied on the people of the province.

Regarding K-P’s share in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), he said the federal government spent 1.42% of the total budget on the province in 2010-11, 4.11% in 2011-12 and 2.26% in 2012-13.

“The federal government has not provided us figures for the years 2013-14 and 2014-15 despite our repeated demands,” said the minister.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2015. 

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