PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday presented Rs1.36 trillion budget with a surplus of Rs96.3 billion for the ongoing financial year 2023–24 in the provincial assembly for approval.

The budget included the expenditure authorised by the caretaker government, the provincial assembly, and the current cabinet, according to law minister Aftab Alam Khan Afridi, who was given the additional charge of the finance department a day ago.

In a session chaired by Speaker Babar Saleem Swati, the minister said for the first time in the last 76 years, the province was presenting its budget in the 11th month of a fiscal year.

He said that the caretaker government authorised the expenditure for eight months of the current fiscal – first for the period of July–October 2023 and then for the period of November 2023–February 2024.

It includes expenditure okayed by caretakers, current cabinet

“Since the cabinet was not there soon after the general elections in February this year, the provincial assembly authorised expenditure for that month. The cabinet, which was formed later, approved expenditure authorisation for the months of April and May,” he said.

The minister said the government was focusing on the improvement of the law and order situation, the Sehat Card Plus health insurance programme, economic development, and social welfare in the province, besides controlling corruption.

He said that the caretaker government had allocated Rs40 billion development funds for the merged tribal districts, but the current government increased the amount to Rs46 billion in its first four months.

“The Sehat Card initiative is benefiting 7.5 million people in our province and therefore, we’ve allocated Rs26 billion for it,” he said, adding that Rs10 billion was provided for the Ramazan Package for the disbursement of Rs10,000 to every beneficiary.

The minister said the provincial government had allocated Rs1.5 billion under the Ehsas Package for the welfare of women, the poor and persons with disabilities, while Rs1.3 billionwent for Peshawar’s Bus Rapid Transit.

He said the Rs1.36 trillion outlay for the current fiscal included expenditure amounting to Rs1.05 trillion and a development programme of Rs301 billion.

In the budget, the current expenditure of settled districts has been pitched at Rs942 billion, while Rs116.86 billion is meant for the current expenses of the merged tribal districts.

The revenue estimates project the federal receipts at Rs1.07 trillion, including Rs764.6 billion in federal tax assignment, Rs91.8 billion in lieu of one per cent of the federal divisible pool for the war on terror, Rs38.6 billion in straight transfers, Rs91.7 billion windfall levy, Rs31.5 billion net hydel profit (NHP) for the current fiscal, and NHP arrears of Rs53.4 billion.

The documents show that the province’s own tax and non-tax revenue will be Rs85 billion, including tax receipts of Rs56.4 billion and Rs28.5 billion of non-tax revenue.

The revenue of tribal districts has been estimated to be around Rs173.8 billion, while the development receipts are around Rs125.6 billion, including Rs114 billion foreign assistance and Rs11.3 billion in the Federal Public Sector Development Programme.

On the other hand, the provincial annual development programme has been pitched at Rs86 billion, the district ADP at Rs17.2 billion, the merged areas ADP at Rs26 billion, the merged district ADP at Rs5.2 billion, the accelerated implementation programme at Rs41 billion, foreign project assistance at Rs114.38 billion, and the federal PSDP at Rs11.3 billion.

The current expenditure of settled districts includes a salary component of Rs216.6 billion, a tehsil salary component of Rs233.2 billion, Rs134 billion for pensions, Rs253 billion for provincial operation and maintenance, Rs24 billion for non-salary expenditure of tehsils, and Rs25.4 billion for capital expenditure.

The budget documents show the current expenditure of tribal districts stands at Rs116.86 billion, but the federal government is providing the province with just Rs66 billion for the region’s current budget, with the KP government footing the bill of Rs50.8 billion from its own resources.

The minister also placed before the house a Rs306.52 billion supplementary budget for the fiscal year 2022–23.

Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2024

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