PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government will announce its first over Rs1.6 trillion budget for the next fiscal year on Friday (today) with a development outlay of over Rs400 billion.

The cabinet will meet at 11am to approve the 2024–25 budget, while the assembly’s session for the budget’s presentation has been convened at around 3pm.

On Wednesday, provincial governor Faisal Karim Kundi approved a government summary for the convening of the assembly’s budget session.

Official sources told Dawn that the total volume of the provincial budget for the next fiscal year would be over Rs1.6 trillion.

Of over Rs400bn development outlay, over Rs100bn will go to tribal districts

They said that on one hand, the provincial government had allocated over Rs1.2 trillion for the current expenditure in the budget, but on the other, it had set the volume of the annual development programme at over Rs400 billion.

Sources said over Rs1 trillion had been allocated for the current expenditure of settled districts, while around Rs140 billion had been earmarked for the merged tribal districts.

Regarding the development portfolio, they said that of the over Rs400 billion ADP, over Rs290 billion had been earmarked for settled districts, while over Rs100 billion would go to development projects in merged tribal districts.

Adviser to the chief minister for the finance department Muzzammil Aslam told Dawn that the volume of the next budget would be 15–16 per cent more than the current fiscal’s Rs1.456 trillion budget.

He said that the volume of the annual development programme would be 40-50 per cent more than the over Rs300 billion development programme for the current fiscal.

Mr Aslam also said health and education budgets for the next fiscal would be 13–15 per cent more than the current fiscal’s.

He said that the provincial government had worked out its revenue mobilisation proposals in the next fiscal.

“We have planned to reduce taxes on property in the next budget and are going to reduce taxes on restaurants as well. However, the government has planned to increase royalties in the next fiscal year,” he said.

Regarding the pay raise for government employees, Mr Aslam said it would be announced on Friday.

Sources told Dawn that the provincial government had proposed to change the ratio of taxes in the next fiscal year.

The sources said that the provincial government had divided wedding halls in the province into three categories depending on their capacity.

An official said that wedding halls would be at liberty to opt for the existing eight per cent tax rate or for one of three categories where they had to pay tax as per capacity.

He added that the government had decided to bring the customs agent into a fixed regime under the existing 15 per cent tax.

The official said the budget proposals also included the imposition of a fixed tax per writ on lawyers.

Interestingly, for the first time in the province’s history, a government is going to present its budget for the next fiscal year before the federal budget. In the past, the budget was always unveiled after the announcement of the federal budget.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2024

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