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Govt expenses cut by Rs95 billion in budget, says KP minister

Updated June 20, 2019

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KP Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra addresses a post-budget press conference in Peshawar on Wednesday. — White Star
KP Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra addresses a post-budget press conference in Peshawar on Wednesday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Wednesday said that it had cut its expenditures by Rs95 billion in the new budget and managed to arrest the ever increasing expenses.

Talking to reporters at the post-budget briefing, Minister for Finance Taimur Saleem Jhagra said that it was imperative to arrest growing government expenditures.

“In the first phase, provincial government has cut expenditures by Rs95 billion. Such expenses will be further curtailed in future,” he added.

Taimur Jhagra says revenue estimates for next fiscal year 39 per cent higher than that of current one

Mr Jhagra said that government expenses were pitched at Rs855 billion in the Rs900 billion total outlay, leaving surplus of Rs45 billion. He said that revenue estimates of 2019-20 were 39 per cent higher than the Rs648 billion for the current year.

He said that government allocated Rs536 billion for current expenditures while development outlay was projected at Rs319 billion.

He said that Rs236 billion of the development outlay would be spent in settled districts while Rs83 billion was allocated for tribal districts.

The minister said that government was expanding Sehat Isnaf Card scheme to the entire province.

“Universal health coverage for the whole of province is a big achievement,” he said.

He added that government was considering rolling out health coverage on the basis of national identity cards and the health scheme would cover 35 million population of the province.

Mr Jhagra said that development funds for tribal districts would be utilised for social sectors, infrastructure and economic development and quick impact projects.

He said that the government would give stipends to girl students from the region, where female enrolment ratio was the lowest.

He said that government successfully managed to control expenditures as it was imperative in the current economic conditions.

He said that government was taking steps to increasing its revenue, which would lead it to self-sufficiency.

He said that government revenues were projected at Rs900 billion in the budget and the province would receive Rs533

billion from federal government including federal tax assignment of Rs453 billion.

“Straight transfers have been pitched at Rs25.6 billion while net hydel profit proceeds amount to Rs55.7 billion, including arrears amounting to Rs34.5 billion,” he said.

The minister said that irregular payment of net hydel profit not only resulted into problems for the province but also an issue for the centre to make large payments. He said that monthly installments of net hydel profit amounted to Rs2 billion.

Mr Jhagra said that some of the province’s dues in connection with net hydel profit dated back to even 1990s.

He said that the share of province in net hydel profit amounted to Rs129 billion as per the AGN Kazi formula. He said that only Prime Minister Imran Khan could resolve that problem of the province. He said that province tax and non-tax revenue was pitched at Rs53.4 billion while foreign assistance projected at Rs82 billion.

The minister said that the budget of merged districts was increased to Rs162 billion from Rs55 billion. He said that government allocated Rs1.1 billion funds for least developed districts of the province.

Mr Jhgra said that for the provincial capital, government decided to extend Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar to semi-urban and rural areas of the city and also launch second shift and Sunday service as well.

He said that tertiary care hospitals would also receive equipment and infrastructure worth Rs7 billion.

The minister said that they did no impose new taxes rather reduced the existing ones.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2019