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PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will approve the province’s Rs198.9 billion budget for the next four months today (Thursday).

Provincial finance secretary Shakil Qadir Khan told Dawn that a proposal on ‘expenditure authorisation’ for the July-October period would be presented before the provincial cabinet for approval today (Thursday).

Besides Punjab, KP, too, hasn’t unveiled budget for the next fiscal, 2018-19.

However, the KP case was different from Punjab’s as thin majority in the last provincial assembly had made the then ruling PTI first put off the budget presentation three times and then abandon it altogether.

On Tuesday, interim Chief Minster retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan was briefed about the July-October budget.

The province has seen the presentation of interim budget in the past, too. The then caretaker government had authorised expenditure for four months in 1988 in line with Article 126 of the Constitution, which allowed it in the absence of the provincial assembly.

“Notwithstanding anything contained in the foregoing provisions relating to financial matters, at any time when the Provincial Assembly stands dissolved, the Provincial Government may authorize expenditure from the Provincial Consolidated Fund in respect of the estimated expenditure for a period not exceeding four months in any financial year, pending completion of the procedure prescribed in Article 122 for the voting of grants and the authentication of the schedule of authorized expenditure in accordance with the provisions of Article 123 in relation to the expenditure,” it read.

The details available with Dawn show that the province’s four month current and development outlay will be Rs198.6 billion for the first quarter of the next financial year, which is Rs1.49 billion less than that of the ongoing year’s corresponding period.

The proposal document said that the cabinet would be asked to authorise expenditure incurring in lieu of current and development budget from July 1, 2018, to October 31, 2018, adaptation of austerity measures for 2018-19, and ‘release policy’ for the next four months.

Also, the cabinet will approve 10 per cent adhoc relief allowance to all provincial government employees and 10 per cent increase in pension to former employees.

The minimum monthly pension will be increased from Rs6,000 to Rs10,000 and monthly family pension from Rs4,500 to Rs7,000, while the minimum pension for the pensioners aged more than 75 years will go up to Rs15,000 per month.

Of the Rs198.9 billion total outlay, Rs145 billion will be allocated for current expenditure, including payment of salary, pension, debt servicing, subsidy and other heads, while Rs53.1 billion will go to the annual development programme.

Of the amount, Rs24 billion will be doled out for the provincial component of the ADP, Rs9.8 billion for district ADP and Rs18.9 billion for donor-funded projects.

Published in Dawn, June 28th, 2018