PESHAWAR: Amid an uproar and boycott by the three opposition parties, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government unveiled on Monday a balanced annual budget of Rs487.884 billion for the financial year 2015-16 with a development outlay of Rs174.884 billion.
Presented in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly by provincial Finance Minister Muzaffar Said, who belongs to the Jamaat-e-Islami, the budget along with a minor upward revision in some provincial taxes also proposed a one-time levy of Rs10,000 on the 1000cc and above cars in the province.
The budget outlay, showing a 21 percent increase over the last budgetary allocation, also proposed 10 percent increase in the salaries of employees and 25 percent increase in their medical allowance. Pensions were also increased by 10 percent.
At the very outset, members of the three opposition parties, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F), Awami National Party (ANP) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), entered the provincial assembly hall when the finance minister started delivering his budget speech and attempted to disrupt him and disturb the proceedings.
Speaker Asad Qaiser, who was chairing the special budget session of the provincial assembly, tried to bring order to the house, but in vain.The lawmakers of the PPP, PML-N, JUI-F and ANP continued to chant slogans against the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) for carrying out rigging in the recent local government election in the province.
Presenting the budget, which in many respects looked like a copy of the previous budget, the finance minister said the annual fiscal plan would carry no new tax. He said minor adjustments had been made to the existing tax slabs.
The minister said that only commercial and high-power engine vehicles would be liable to one-time levy of Rs10,000 in the next financial year as the annual token tax of the vehicle had not been increased since 2000.
He said that increase in the tax on the licences of ‘spirit’ and Sales Tax on services in the light of the 18th Amendment and levy on livestock sector had also been proposed in the budget.
The minister termed the budget as balanced as it estimated the provincial revenue receipt for next financial year at Rs487.884 billion against the equal total expenditures that also pitched at Rs487.884 billion.
Elaborating, Muzaffar Said maintained that the revenue receipts the province would be receiving to meet its expenditures would be Rs250.89 billion from the federal divisible pool, showing a 10 percent increase over the current fiscal.
He added that the province was expected to receive Rs30.146 billion as war subvention on account of expenditures against war on terror and unrest in the province. He said the increase was to the tune of 10 percent over the last year’s allocations for the purpose.
The minister said the province would also receive Rs.19.41 billion as royalty on oil and gas produced in southern districts of the province. This showed a drop by 33 percent against the amount allocated in the outgoing fiscal.
Muzaffar Said added the province would receive Rs44 billion as general sales tax on services showing 17 percent increase. He said Rs37.124 billion would be available from other revenue sources showing increase of 166 percent than that of current fiscal ending on June 30.
He said the province would spend Rs3.30 billion on hydel power stations, thereby registering an increase by 16 percent. “The province’s revenue income from its own resources would stand at Rs54.424 billion showing an increase of 89 percent,” he added.
The minister said Rs15 billion would be available for the hydel power stations from the Hydel Development Fund (HDF) along with the Rs.14 billion for additional expenditures from the saving of previous fiscal years. He said Rs17 billion was expected to be received as net profit on hydel-power generation along with the expected receipts of Rs51.873 billion as arrears of net hydel profit.
The minister said Rs8 billion would be generated from the auction of the timber available in many parts of the province. He said, “Rs.32.884 billion would be received under the foreign project assistance along with Rs2.25 billion expected to be generated from miscellaneous sectors in the province in the next fiscal.”
According to Muzaffar Said, for better social and financial management, like the previous year, the budget 2015-16 had been segregated into three parts i.e. welfare, administration and development. He said the main focus is on welfare for which Rs259.169 billion - 53 percent of the total budget and 18 percent more than the current fiscal – had been earmarked. He added that Rs53.83 billion had been set aside for administration (11 percent of total budget), showing a decrease of 19 percent over the current budget.
He added that Rs298 billion had been allocated for the current revenue expenditures, showing 19 percent increase over the outgoing fiscal.The minister explained that Rs298 billion had been allocated for the current revenue expenditures, showing 19 percent rise over the current fiscal. He said the current revenue expenditures would include Rs177.350 billion to be spent on general public service while Rs41.374 billion would go to public order and safety, Rs18.094 billion to economic affairs, Rs8.528 billion for housing and community service, Rs16.701 billion for health sector, Rs28.549billion for education and Rs6.557billion for social protection.
He said the overall education budget had also been raised by 21 percent by allocating Rs97.54 billion for the sector while for health Rs29.95 billion had been set aside.The minister said that allocations for the special education, social welfare and women empowerment sector had been set at Rs1.37 billion, while Rs32.74 billion had been allocated for police showing an increase of 15 percent over the current fiscal.
He said Rs3.60 billion would go to irrigation while technical education and manpower will get Rs1.75 billion, agriculture Rs3.51 billion, forests and environment Rs1.83 billion, communication and works Rs2.76 billion. He added that Rs36.99 billion would be spent on pensions, while Rs.2.90 billion would be allocated for subsidy on wheat and Rs.7.210 billion for debt-servicing during the next fiscal.
About the readjustment in provincial taxes, the minister said no new tax was proposed in the 2015-16 fiscal plans, but minor adjustments were being carried out on slabs of certain taxes for revenue generation. He pointed out that the readjustment has been proposed in category A to C and no rise had been proposed in category D of commercial property tax.
The minister said the increase in fees slabs falling in schedule-II of the commercial property and also in tax was proposed for the CNG stations, petrol pumps and service station. He said fees for the stands and parking lots would also be increased.
For the development expenditures, the minister said Rs174.884 billion had been allocated including the Rs111.726 billion provincial Annual Development Programme (ADP) and Rs30.274 billion for the districts’ ADP. These allocations would include the foreign project assistance of Rs32.884 billion.
The minister said the ADP allocations for 1,525 schemes were mainly directed to 911 ongoing schemes and 640 new ones.He said the government had submitted 19 schemes worth $5,320 million under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to be included in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP).
The proposed schemes include 10 energy and power projects, eight irrigation schemes and the Swat Expressway, the minister said. He added that the projects would generate about 17 megawatt electricity besides irrigating around 0.3 million acres of land.
The minister stated the province would get its share of Rs15 billion under the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDF) during the next financial year. He said the province was expected to receive Rs32.88 billion as foreign aid of which Rs27.66 would be grant and Rs5.22 billion would be loan on easy terms.