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AJK Council budget More tax less development

ISLAMABAD, Sept 24 : The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AKJ) Council presented its Rs9.59 billion budget for the year 2012-13, here Monday, and the major expenditure amounting to Rs6.18 billion is the disbursement of income tax to AJK Government, while the development projects of AJK Council for current fiscal year is Rs1.91 billion.

The Council budget was presented by Chaudhry Muhammad Mehboob, member AJK Council in the 47th session of the AJK Council, presided by Speaker and acting President of AJK, Sardar Ghulam Sadiq Khan.

Acknowledging that the budget of AJK Council usually gets delayed for three to four months, as it cannot be presented in June because the prime minister is busy, an official of the Council said. But compared to last year, the delay has been reduced by one month, as the Council budget was presented in October last year.

“This happens because the chairman of the AJK Council is the prime minister of Pakistan, who is generally busy in June and July,” the official said.

The main income of AJK Council is Rs8 billion to be collected from tax revenues, during 2012-13, however 80 per cent of this amount is disbursed to the Azad Kashmir government that is Rs6.18 billion.

The balance 20 per cent is utilised on operational expenses of the Council Secretariat, Line Departments, subordinate institutions and official expenditures relating to Members, Advisors as well as for various development schemes proposed by the Members and Azad Jammu and Kashmir  Government.

The development allocation for the year 2012-13 is Rs1.91 billion, compared to Rs2.16 billion spent in the head of development expenditure in 2011-12.

The Azad Jammu and Kashmir Council has launched scholarships / stipend programmes for AJK students, studying in various Universities / Institutions of Pakistan and AJK.

Rs15 million has been allocated for this programme in the year 2012-13.The non- development expenditures amount to Rs1.29 billion.

“The operational expenses have been estimated at Rs1.29 billion, which is 24 per cent higher than that of last year’s expenditure mainly on account of substantial increase in pay and allowances, pensions and other employees’ related expenditure on the analogy of a similar increase announced by the Government of Pakistan,” Chaudhry Mehmoob told the Council.

On the revenue side, the Council expects to collect Rs8 billion tax collections, and the non-tax revenues are expected to Rs95.43 million, whereas the capital receipts are set to be at Rs40 million for the current fiscal year.

The AJK Council has estimated to make a total receipt of Rs8.13 billion, which will result in shortfall of Rs1.45 billion, which is proposed to be met through savings of Rs79.15 million in the non-development head, Rs80 million through increased collection of income tax, but the major chunk of the deficit would be met through Rs1.30 billion grants from the government of Pakistan.

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