PESHAWAR: Opposition in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday claimed that the provincial government had made unrealistic projections in the next budget to hoodwink the people.
It also came down hard on the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf for printing covers of all budget books in the colours of its flag i.e. green and red.
On the second day of debate on the proposed 2022-23 provincial budget in a session chaired by Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan Khan, opposition Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal member Inayatullah Khan was the first to take the floor.
He said the revenue records showed every sector in the province producing Rs100-Rs150 billion less than the projects figures.
MMA member also accuses govt of launching projects on CM’s verbal orders
“The government received Rs100 billion less federal transfers in the current fiscal than those reflected in budget documents for the outgoing fiscal. Also, it got Rs21 billion net hydel profit from the federal government despite putting the figure at Rs74 billion in budget documents,” he said.
Mr Inayatullah said the government expected to receive Rs204 billion under other heads but got Rs95 billion only.
He said the projected foreign project assistance was Rs93 billion but it actually totalled Rs16 billion.
“Having failed to get the expected receipts in the outgoing fiscal, the provincial government had showed highly exaggerated figures in the budget for the upcoming year. I am sure that budgetary shortfall will be above Rs300 billion in the next fiscal year,” he said.
The opposition lawmaker said poor planning and unrealistic approach had forced the government to present Rs234.95 billion supplementary budget in the assembly for approval.
He said lower receipts than expected badly hit schemes highlighted in the annual development programme and therefore, their completion got delayed.
“The provincial government had launched development schemes but released meagre amounts for them causing throw forward liabilities to total Rs1.3 trillion,” he said.
Mr Inayatullah said development schemes were executed on the verbal orders of the chief minister in violation of the court’s orders for written ones.
He said the provincial government and UNDP data showed that over 60,000 houses and 1100 schools were completely and partially damaged in the erstwhile Fata due to militancy.
The MPA asked the government about the funds allocated for ‘repair and reconstruction projects’ in tribal areas.
Parliamentary leader of the opposition ANP Sardar Hussain Babak complained that contractors were protesting in the province over nonpayment of dues despite the completion of development schemes as the government was short of funds .
He criticised the government for highlighting itself by spending the taxpayers’ money and said the printing of the ruling PTI’s flag colours on the front pages of budget documents was against parliamentary traditions action.
Mr Babak said the last PTI government in the centre had pledged to provide Rs1 trillion for the development of tribal districts in the next 10 years but didn’t release most of the amount in its three years time.
He announced that his party had decided to challenge the recent amendment to the KP Local Government Act, 2013, in the court of law over the clipping of the powers of local body representatives.
MPAs Sardar Mohammad Yousaf and Sardar Khan of the PML-Nand Nisar Mohmand of the ANP also participated in the debate.
Responding to the opposition’s criticism and referring to the latest Economic Survey of Pakistan, finance minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said jobs in KP had increased more than 10 times compared with Punjab’s, six times with Sindh’s and five times with Balochistan’s.
He said the media and opposition had mentioned ‘exaggerated’ figures of loans obtained during the PTI tenure.
The minister said he wondered why ANP members objected to the execution of development schemes through Pakistan Army in tribal districts.
“This is our army and not that of India or Afghanistan. We need buildings for schools and hospitals and have no concerns about who is putting them up,” he said.
The chair adjourned the session until next Monday.
Published in Dawn,June 18th, 2022