PESHAWAR: Adviser to the chief minister on finance Muzzammil Aslam on Friday that the provincial government was reducing its expenses as the federal government was not clearing its dues.

During a post-budget news conference here, Mr Aslam complained that the province hadn’t received a single penny from the centre as net hydel profit.

He said the provincial government would receive Rs1.2 trillion from the federal government in the next fiscal year, while the province was likely to generate Rs93 billion in revenue by itself.

The aide to the chief minister said the provincial government would get Rs122 billion in foreign loans for development schemes and recommended a 10 per cent increase in the basic salary of its employees.

Aslam urges federal govt not to tax tribal districts, Malakand

He said the provincial government’s tax on property was reduced from six per cent to 3.5 per cent and the tax on private housing societies increased.

Mr Aslam said cess on tobacco was increased.

He said there would be a fixed tax on wedding halls, while the tax on restaurants had been reduced to six per cent.

The CM’s aide said the provincial government was not taxing merged tribal districts and Malakand division, so it requested the federal government, too, not to tax those areas.

He said the province recently received funds for tribal districts from the centre.

Mr Aslam said the federal government was holding talks with the International Monitory Fund for loans, and therefore, it couldn’t set a date for the announcement of its budget.

He added that even if the federal government presented its budget on June 7, there would be very little time for the provincial government to lay and pass its budget due to Eidul Azha, which was likely to be marked on June 17 or 18.

“We have not bypassed anyone, nor is there anything in the law stopping us from presenting the provincial budget before the announcement of the federal budget,” he said.

The CM’s adviser said the provincial government developed its budget in light of four principles, including revenue maximisation, expenditure reduction, resource mobilisation, and taxing those required to be taxed, and providing relief to those who deserved relief.

He said the provincial government feared it would not receive Rs46.8 billion under the windfall levy and Rs111 billion in net hydel profit from the centre.

Meanwhile, opposition members in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly wondered why the KP government wanted to present its budget even before the announcement of the federal budget.

Leader of the Opposition Dr Ibadullah Khan told reporters after the budget speech outside the Assembly Hall on Friday that the provincial government had acknowledged that 92 per cent of its total annual expenditure was paid by the federal government, but it was still complaining against the latter.

He said it wasn’t clear how much funding the centre would provide to the province in the next fiscal year from the federal divisible pool and under the National Finance Commission Award and what decision the Council of Common Interest would take.

Dr Khan said provincial minister for finance Aftab Alam Afridi had assumed about the funds to be given by the federal government to the province.

Accompanied by Pakistan Peoples Party leader Arbab Zarak and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader Zahir Khan, the opposition leader said the federal government wanted to pass the budget before June 3, in a reference to a Supreme Court hearing about the oath-taking of the KP Assembly’s reserved seats for women and non-Muslims.

He called the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit a “white elephant” and said the government had allocated Rs3 billion as a subsidy for the bus service, though the money was enough to construct 250 schools in the province.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2024

Follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

China’s concerns
23 Jun, 2024

China’s concerns

Pakistan has no option but to neutralise militant threat to Chinese projects, as well as address its business and political stability concerns.
War drums
23 Jun, 2024

War drums

If it is foolish enough to launch another war in Lebanon, Tel Aviv will be solely responsible for setting the Middle East on fire.
Balochistan budget
23 Jun, 2024

Balochistan budget

BALOCHISTAN’S Rs955.6bn budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 makes many pledges to the poor citizens of Pakistan’s...
Another lynching
Updated 22 Jun, 2024

Another lynching

The chilling alternative to not doing anything — which appears to be the state’s preferred option — is the advent of mob rule.
Tax & representation
22 Jun, 2024

Tax & representation

THE taxation measures outlined in the budget for the incoming fiscal year have triggered a lot of concern among ...
Life of the party?
22 Jun, 2024

Life of the party?

THE launch of Awaam Pakistan, a party led by former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and former finance minister...