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Budget put off until next Monday

October 11, 2018

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PESHAWAR: The government has decided to delay the presentation of the budget for the current fiscal’s last eight months until next Monday.

KP Governor Shah Farman had called the provincial assembly’s budget session on Oct 11.

However, a notification posted on the provincial assembly’s website on Wednesday said the governor had summoned the assembly’s session at 3:30pm on Oct 15 exercising his powers conferred by Clause (a) of Article 109 of the Constitution.

It added that the governor’s earlier previous order to call the session on Oct 11 should be treated as withdrawn. The notification offered no reason for the sudden move.

However, spokesman for the government Shaukat Yousafzai insisted that the postponement of the assembly’s budget session was caused by the delayed printing of the budget documents and the Oct 14 by-elections for national and provincial assembly seats.

He told Dawn that the finance department had sought a day or two for completing the printing of budget documents, while the two-day weekend also coincided with the holding of by-elections slated for Saturday.

He said the budget has been prepared and its presentation has been delayed due to printing and bye-polls.

A finance department official said the presentation of budget was the provincial government’s duty and that when it would give the go-ahead, the department would finalise it for presentation in the assembly.

In June 2018, the then caretaker government had presented over Rs198 billion budget for the July-October period after the last Pervez Khattak-led elected government failed to present the 2018-19 budget for losing majority in the house due to the expulsion of 20 lawmakers from the party over the alleged horse-trading in Senate elections.

The former PTI government had called the assembly’s session at least on three occasions during its twilight days in the month of May. However, the notifications were withdrawn every time. In the end, it left it to the caretakers to allocate appropriate expenditure for the current fiscal’s first four months.

The size of the 2018-19 budget has been projected at over Rs610 billion but it includes Rs198 billion earmarkedby the caretaker government to meet the current expenditure. Of the amount, over Rs400 billion will be spent on current expenditure, including pay and pension bill of the government employees.

The province’s annual development programme is likely to be over Rs190 billion, including over Rs120 billion provincial component and around Rs70 billion foreign project assistance.

The proposed ADP allocations shows that the agriculture sector is likely to get Rs2.5 billion, district ADP Rs29 billion, primary education Rs9 billion, health Rs7.7 billion, roads Rs8.8 billion, transport Rs7 billion and water Rs5 billion.

Published in Dawn, October 11th, 2018