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KP new budget could turn into PTI’s worst nightmare

KP new budget could turn into PTI’s worst nightmare

KP budget Muzafar said JI-640x480

Imbalanced allocations causing rifts within the ruling party. PHOTO: EXPRESS
PESHAWAR: The development sector could well be plunged into a deeper crisis as the K-P government is, to all intents and purposes, going to see through Fiscal Year 2016-17 on a deficit budget. Also, the imbalanced budget allocation for the new financial year could spell troubled times for Chief Minister Pervez Khattak; especially since there is uproar over the outlay within his own Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.

Unfortunately, the government has also outlined Rs12.2 billion its receipts as part of a “domestic loan”. This is clearly an attempt by the administration to guise the huge deficit.

In the outgoing financial year, the provincial government expected to receive an amount of more than Rs51.8 billion from the federal government in net hydel profit arrears. Later, the PTI-led regime had to swallow the bitter pill of reality and confirmed only Rs25 billion of the amount would actually come into the province. Also, in the outgoing year, just Rs9 billion was received from a projected estimate of Rs 17 billion in the budgetary estimates of FY2015-2016. In the light of its previous experience, the provincial government expected just Rs15 billion in arrears over the next financial year. However, to establish its claims on net hydel profit, in accordance to the AGN Qazi formula, the government has projected an expected amount of more than Rs18.7 billion in 2016-17.

Besides wide ranging differences in revenue receipts, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government was slammed for its failure to utilise allocations for the Annual Development Programme. Ever since it came into power in june 2013, the PTI government had great difficulties in using development funds.

Till the third week of May 2016, less than half or 44% of the ADP was used. Experts believe that ratio could jump to 60% by the end of the current financial year. Failure to use the ADP and combat a massive deficit of around Rs27 billion could multiply the hardships of the coalition government.

There is growing outrage in parliament over FY2016-17’s budget allocations. This is in contrast to the last three years during which PTI leaders, especially CM Khattak, were enjoying a honeymoon phase. Nowadays, things are heating up as PTI’s own elected MPAs— in addition to the opposition—are showing disappointment over the budget.

Last Friday, Chief Minister’s Adviser Shakil Ahmad broke his silence and accused the ruling party of focusing the lion’s share of the budget on four districts.

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He threatened to resign if the chief minister failed to address his concerns over the coming months. “Resources of this province are not meant for four districts,” he categorically stated. “Problems and hardships are not only confined to them. My district is also facing problems and its people attached great hopes in the PTI’s agenda of change.’ His outburst was followed by four other MPAs of the ruling party who boycotted proceedings after tearing copies of the agenda on the floor of the house.

Whatever the justification might be from PTI leaders and office-bearers, it is clear that the provincial government has failed to implement Imran Khan’s agenda of change and good governance along with an end to corruption, malpractices, nepotism and all other evils in public and private sectors. Earlier, some PTI steps, including derogatory remarks, angered people from the civil administration and other government departments. Now, the internal rifts and divisions within the ruling party have come to the fore. Recently, some MNAs decided to revolt against the chief minister. They claimed support for their cause was coming from within the K-P Assembly. The MNAs said the house was hugely disappointed by the provincial government.

On the federal level, Imran Khan has realised the importance of embarking on a joint struggle with other opposition parties. However, in K-P, his own party is yet to understand the significance of mutual understanding and consultation with leaders of other political forces, besides remaining divided itself.

By Shamim Shahid Published in The Express Tribune

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