Wednesday September 27, 2023

KP Assembly passes budget as opposition withdraws cut motions

June 25, 2022

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday passed the budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 by approving the 64 demands for a grant of Rs1, 332 billion with the adoption of the finance bill, 2022, as the opposition members withdrew the cut motions.

Five demands for grants from different departments were approved in the last two days while 59 demands for grants were approved after the opposition agreed to withdraw the cut motions after talks with the treasury members. However, some members forwarded their suggestions despite withdrawing their cut motions.

In his speech after the House passed the budget, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan lauded his team and the opposition for their cooperation in running the budget session smoothly. However, he criticised the past governments, saying they did nothing for the electorates.

The chief minister claimed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led federal government had put the country on track but was removed under an international conspiracy for pursuing an independent foreign policy. He said the ‘imported government’ was unable to manage the affairs of the government.

His words against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif led to a rumpus in the House as Ikhtiar Wali Khan of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) retaliated by shouting at the chief minister. Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan, who presided over the session, ordered Sergeant-at-Arm to take Ikhtiar Wali out of the House.

He banned his entry into the House for two days, asking the assembly staff not to allow him to attend the session for the next two days (Monday and Tuesday). Enumerating his government’s achievements, Mahmood Khan said 33 per cent of the Rs1,332 billion budget had been allocated for development.

He said Rs200 billion were allocated for Sehat Card, Insaf Food Card, Kisan Card, subsidy on wheat, Education Card to be launched soon and imparting IT training to 100,000 youth. Announcing an increase in the minimum wage from Rs21,000 to 26,000, he said the budget for the police had been increased to maintain law and order.

He said four major hospitals were being established in four regions of the province to reduce the burden on the provincial capital. The chief minister said 63,000 ad hoc government employees were regularised.

The chief minister criticized the federal government for stopping the province funding and said the Sehat Card facility would continue in merged districts despite the suspension of the funds by the Centre.

He said a new city was being established under the name of New Peshawar Valley for which land acquisition is in the process. Swat Motorway, Dir Expressway and DI Khan Motorway would also be built, he added.

Earlier, the opposition members talked about their issues and suggestions. Sardar Hussain Babak of the Awami National Party (ANP) said the province was facing a bad law and order situation and people were getting killed and kidnapped. He questioned the performance of the intelligence agencies, saying how terrorists were carrying out activities and from where they were getting weapons and training.

Babak said the civil administration should be empowered, saying KP police had the capability to maintain law and order if given powers. He said KP was producing cheap hydel power but consumers in the province were paying exaggerated bills. The ANP leader said the province should concentrate on green energy. He said narcotics, especially “ice” drug use was ruining the young generation.