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Friday June 21, 2024

QWP says KP budget based on assumptions

By Bureau report
May 28, 2024
Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) provincial Chairman Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao speaks during a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club in this still on May 27, 2024. — Facebook/Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao
Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) provincial Chairman Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao speaks during a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club in this still on May 27, 2024. — Facebook/Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao

PESHAWAR: Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) provincial Chairman Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao on Monday said the provincial budget for the financial year 2024-25 was based on assumptions and guesswork

Speaking at a press conference at the Peshawar Press Club, he said the provincial government did not know how much money it would get from the federal government.The QWP leader said the provincial government had not even prepared its own finance bill so how would it collect Rs93 billion from its own resources.

“The tax cut on property and hotels can only be done through the finance bill. The increase in tobacco cess and royalties on minerals also need the finance bill,” he explained. He questioned the presentation of the budget in a hurry, saying the provincial government had not done its homework properly. Sikandar Sherpao said that in the post-budget press conference, the finance adviser admitted that they were not going to get the presumed projected amounts. “So how can the government claim to have presented a surplus budget,” he remarked. He said that the finance adviser had admitted that the province would be borrowing over Rs120 billion loan.

The QWP leader questioned the logic behind presenting the provincial budget before the federal budget, adding that the meeting of the National Economic Council and the formal approval of the federal cabinet can change the figures. He said the meeting of the National Economic Council was yet to take place wherein the federal government conveyed the official figures to the provinces.

“On the one hand, the PTI claims that the federal government cannot improve the financial situation but on the other hand it is expecting that federal revenues will increase and the province will get more funds,” he said.

Terming the budget a political stunt and jugglery of words to deceive the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he added this would turn out to be a deficit budget.Sikandar Sherpao said the provincial government had presented a budget for financial year 2023-24 with a total volume of Rs1456 billion, but later the actual figures stood at Rs1074 billion with a shortfall of Rs382 billion.

This year, he added, the government presented the budget with a total outlay of Rs1754 billion but this would turn out to be a deficit budget like the previous one due to the overestimation.

He added the provincial government had projected Rs902 billion under the head of federal transfers, which was also unlikely as last year projected figure of Rs986 was not achieved. Sikandar Sherpao said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was facing three main issues i.e. poor economic situation, rising acts of terrorism and worsening law and order. The QWP leader said the people were facing the brunt of the poor governance, therefore, the provincial government should avoid indulging in confrontation with the Centre and focus on getting the rights of the province.

He said a new National Finance Commission Award should be announced wherein the shares of the provinces should be enhanced.Criticizing the federal government, he said the Centre should pay KP its outstanding arrears on account of net hydel profit. He said it seemed the federal government was also not sincere to pay KP its NHP arrears.