• 16pc pay, 15pc pension raise for government officials
• 63,000 employees to be regularised
• Rs185bn set aside for settled districts, Rs20bn for merged areas
• Rs4bn to be spent on solarisation of over 11,000 mosques
PESHAWAR: The PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Monday set aside a record amount of Rs418 billion for development projects in the Rs1.33 trillion budget for the financial year 2022-23 to accelerate economic recovery, generate employment opportunities, uplift human development index and prioritise service delivery with an eye on the next general election.
The total budget outlay of Rs1.33tr is 19 per cent higher than the current year’s Rs1.18tr.
KP Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra devoted initial part of his budget presentation, which spanned at least 16 slides, on praising ousted prime minister Imran Khan and his performance in office.
The cover of budget documents, printed in PTI flag colours and named ‘Khuddar Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” with a rendering of a fist breaking the chains, also reflected the party’s current mood.
Mr Jhagra announced 16pc pay and 15pc pension raise for government employees. He also announced the plan to bring police personnel in BS-6 to 16 on a par with the disparity reduction allowance and increase the amount of Police Shuahda Package.
Describing them as new reforms, Mr Jhagra announced transport monetisation and vehicle leasing policy, change of executive allowance to performance allowance, work-from-home on Fridays and introduction of fleet cards to save fuel and reduce risk of pilferage across all departments.
He announced regularisation of 63,000 government employees, including 675 doctors, 58,000 school teachers and 4,079 project staff of erstwhile Fata.
Mr Jhagra said the government would introduce an optional top-up package of PTI’s flagship Sehat Card Plus Scheme for the government employees. Besides, he said, the government under the Insaf Card Food Subsidy Scheme would spend Rs26bn on providing relief to about one million families across the province.
The finance minister said treatment of bone marrow transplant, multiple sclerosis, cochlear implants, thalassemia and advance cancer would be covered under the Sehat Card Plus Scheme in a phased manner at a cost of Rs2.5bn.
He announced the setting up of four new medical teaching institutions and four medical colleges during the next fiscal year.
Budgetary estimates pitch the province’s total revenue receipts at Rs1.332tr, including Rs670.5bn federal transfers, Rs68.6bn (1pc of federal divisible pool for war on terror) and Rs31bn straight transfers in lieu of royalty on gas and crude oil.
The KP government would also receive Rs61.5bn in lieu of profits from hydropower generation in the province. In addition to this, the province’s own revenue receipts have been pitched at Rs85bn, up from Rs75bn in the outgoing fiscal year.
The province will also receive Rs208.7bn as grants from the federal government to fund the budget of the merged areas.
The expenditure estimates show a total allocation of Rs913.8bn in the current expenditure and Rs418.2bn development expenditure. An amount of Rs555.2bn, out of Rs913.8bn current expenditure, has been set aside for payment of salaries and pensions of government employees.
The salary component of Rs448.1bn is 20pc higher than the budgeted amount for the outgoing fiscal year. Similarly, the Rs107bn pension bill for the next year will be 16pc higher than the budgeted amount for the current year.
The development outlay of Rs418.5bn shows a funded portion of Rs383.5bn and Rs34.65bn unfunded. An amount of Rs185bn has been allocated for development of settled districts. Besides, Rs37bn has been kept as 20pc share of local bodies in development funds for the settled districts.
In addition to this, Rs20bn has been allocated for development expenditure in merged districts and Rs2.4bn as 20pc share of local bodies of erstwhile Fata.
The unfunded portion of Rs34.65bn is due from Punjab, Sindh and Baluchistan as 3pc share of the National Finance Commission committed for the merged districts. However, none of the provinces has shown willingness to provide this amount for the merged districts.
Donor-funded projects have been pitched at Rs92.3bn.
The Annual Development Programme (ADP) comprises a total of 2,239 projects, including 1,710 ongoing and 529 new projects all over the province.
Mr Jhagra said the KP government would start six new routes of the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit at a cost of Rs1bn. An amount of Rs500m has been allocated for the much-delayed Peshawar Safe City project.
The finance minister said the government was focusing on green energy due to risk posed by the climate change. To this effect, he said, Rs4bn would be spent on solarisation of over 11,000 mosques across the province. Besides, Rs15.8bn will be invested on hydropower projects.
He said the government had allocated Rs2bn to tackle the climate change crisis. He said Rs15.5bn had been allocated for eco-friendly tourism and Rs47.5bn for road network across the province.
Mr Jhagra claimed that since the arrival of the incumbent federal government, not a penny of the hydel profit proceeds had been paid to the province. Besides, he regretted, the federal government also slashed the budget of merged districts by Rs21bn. He urged the federal government to increase funds for the merged districts.