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KP budget to be delayed by a week or more

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budget muzaffar inayatullah-629-640x480

June 6 was original date; officials ADP has yet to be finalised. PHOTO: FILE
PESHAWAR: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa budget announcement for fiscal year 2016-17 is likely to be delayed for a week or more as authorities have yet to finalise the Annual Development Programme (ADP).

Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said confirms the budget will be delayed for a week, but said the move is deliberate.

“We will wait until the federal budget and those of Sindh and Punjab,” Muzaffar said. He added there is a strong possibility that the budget will be announced on June 13.  However, officials dealing with the matter claim the ADP is not finalised and the chief minister will be holding another round of meetings with all the department secretaries before the budget to give final shape to the ADP. The government earlier announced June 6 as the date to reveal the total outlay.

“The chief minister will be holding meetings with secretaries of all departments on Thursday to finalise the ADP sector-wise,” an official said. “There are possibilities to delay the budget from its scheduled date.”

The official added the issue came under discussion during ADP meetings held at Pakhtunkhwa House in Islamabad on Wednesday.

“The government has not been able to finalise the sector-wise allocations of developmental funds and figures vary after each meeting,” he said. The finance department has pitched the ADP volume at Rs75 billion for FY 2016-17 due to the financial health of the province. It expects a flow of funds from the federal government, but the chief minister somehow persuaded the department to take the figure from Rs75 billion to Rs113 billion.

“The chief minister is trying to make arrangements for funds to increase the ADP or at least level it with the outgoing year,” the official added.

Even the government is trying to lease out or commercialise state-owned land to increase provincial revenues. The chief minister has instructed department heads on Monday to identify poorly utilised state-owned lands for commercial use to generate revenue.

Secretary for Relief Ahmad Hanif Orakzai has been given the charge to monitor the projects chalked out for use of state assets for revenue generating purposes.

The official also says the government will increase allocations for the health and education sectors which were prioritised in terms of developmental budget in the outgoing year. The officials present at the meetings at Pakhtunkhwa House add allocations for developmental schemes of the energy and power sector have been slashed in the coming ADP and the department has suggested constructing schemes using the funds available in the Hydel Development Fund (HDF).

“The government is giving a sort of independence to the departments to create schemes using funds available in the HDF,” the official reveals. He adds the administration is facing a shortage of funds and that is the reason it is looking at all options to distribute funds more appropriately. “HDF is also the K-P government’s money. Rather than financing projects from other sources, why not use its allocations in the ADP.” However, he concludes that this may not be the final decision.

By Sohail Khattak Published in The Express Tribune

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