KP proposes 10pc raise in salaries, pensions in Rs1754b surplus budget

PESHAWAR  -   Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Finance Aftab Alam on Friday presented Rs 1754billion annual budget for the fiscal year2024-25, with a surplus of Rs 100 billion.

The government has projected Rs 1,654 billion expenses, said the minister during a budget speech in the assembly here, adding that as per the instructions of the Chief Minister Ali Ameen Gandapur, the budget 2024-25 mainly focused on social protection, peace, employment opportunities, and economic development.

The government has proposed a 10 percent increase in both salaries and pension of the government employees besides raising minimum wage from Rs 32000 to 36000. While giving details of the budget 2024-25, he said that the KP government anticipates receiving a total 1754 billion under different heads during the fiscal year 2024-25 including 1212.036 billion from the federal government under Federal           

Tax Assignment, one percent of divisible pool on war on terror, Straight Transfer under the head of royalties and surcharge on oil and gas, windfall levy and net hydel profit. He said that the KP province considerably improved its income during the last few years and had chalked out a mobilization plan and fixed a target of achieving Rs 93.5 billion revenue for the fiscal year 2024-25.

Similarly, Rs 31.55 billion would be received from other receipts, Rs259.92bn from merged districts, Rs 130.59billion from foreign projects assistance and Rs 26.41bn from development and non development grants under PSDP.

He said the KP government has decided to improve the tax net instead of increasing the taxes and for the purpose, several steps have been taken including reforms in sales tax, property tax, tobacco tax, cess and other taxes.

The government has decreased the sales tax ratio on different online services in the budget, adding that the tax has reduced on hotels from eight percent to six percent and bound the hotels to use Restaurant Invoice Management System. Similarly, a fixed sales tax rate has been proposed for wedding halls.

Aftab said the government has also given relief in property tax and reduced the tax amount on per kanal for factories from Rs 13600 to 10,000. The tax on commercial property which was 16 percent of the monthly rent previously has been reduced to 10 percent and five percent for private hospitals, medical stores and other businesses related to the health sector.

Additionally, the government proposed to increase tobacco development cess to increase income on the production of tobacco, he said and informed the house that the government has reduced provincial tax from 6.5 percent to 3.5 percent on transfer of properties.

The government has earmarked Rs 362.7 billion for the education sector including Rs 35.8billion for higher education and Rs 326.9billion for elementary and secondary education.

As per the instructions of the Chief Minister, the government has allocated Rs 12billion for Ehsas Noujawan Program, Ehsas Rozgar program and Ehsas Hunar program to provide opportunities to 100,000 youth.

The government has earmarked Rs 10billion for Chashma Right Bank Canal (Lift-Cum-Gravity) project to bring 300,000 acre of barren land under cultivation to overcome food security issue.

Similarly, an amount of Rs 228.8billion has been allocated for the health sector.

Rs 140.6billion for peace and order in the province. Rs 60.5billion for roads and infrastructure, Rs 8.1billion for social welfare, Rs two billion for mineral, Rs 7.5 billion for industry and commerce, Rs 9.6billion for tourism, Rs 28.6 billion for agriculture, and Rs 30.8billion for energy sector.

The current expenditure for the settled districts for the fiscal year 2024-25 was estimated Rs 1093.087 billion including provincial salaries, Health MTIs’ salary budget, Tehsil Salary, pension and non-salary expenditures of health MTIs, Tehsil, capital expenditure and ways and means.

Similarly, the current expenditure for the merged districts was estimated at Rs 144.62 billion including provincial salary, Tehsil salary, pension, non-salary, temporarily displaced persons and non salary expenditure of Tehsils.

The government has allocated Rs 416.30 billion for development expenditures for settled and merged districts including Rs 120 billion for Provincial Annual Development Program, Rs 24 billion for district annual development program, Rs 36 billion for merged districts annual development program, Rs 79.29 billion for Accelerated Implementation program (AIP), Rs 130.59billion for foreign project assistance and Rs 26.41 billion for federal PSDP.

 Presenting budget 2024-25 at floor of the house, the finance minister said that 5000 new houses would be constructed under Ehsas Own House Program for which Rs3 billion allocated.

Likewise, Rs10 billion earmarked for CRBC Lift Canal to irrigate three lakh acres lands, launching of Tank, Chodran and Daraban dams, allocation of Rs26.90 billion for wheat procurement, Rs6.50 billion for construction of roads, Rs 2.50 billion for emergency works, construction of Dir and DI Khan Motorway under public private partnership mode, construction of road to link DI Khan with Hakla Motorway and 470 megawatt Lower Spat Gah project.

For law and order, KP government announced Rs140.62bn for improvement of law and order which is 12 percent more compare to last fiscal year while PEHL 911 project was being launched in home department.

The budget of social welfare department increased to Rs8.11 billion which is six percent more while shelter homes program budget jacked up to Rs600 million against 300 million in last fiscal year in merged tribal districts.

Similarly, Rs7.53 billion for industries, Rs9.66 billion for tourism with a project of field heritage school and tourism helpline 1422, Rs28.93 billion for agriculture with olives project, Rs31.54 billion for energy sector with establishment of KP distribution company and launching of Batakundi-Naran hydro project to produce 235 megawatt announced in budget 2024-25.

Besides allocation of Rs14.69 billion for livestock and Rs14.05 billion for forestry with launching of billion trees plus project, the KP government also announced 10 each percent increase in basic pay of its employees and pensioners besides increased minimum wages to Rs36000 from existing Rs32000.

The minister said that the budget 2024-25 was not just a budget document rather it was also a roadmap for development and prosperity of the province and also reflection of the government’s strong resolve to uphold social justice, gender equality.

At the end, he thanked the finance department, planning and development for drafting the budget document within a short span of time.

Leader of the Opposition Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Dr Ibadullah on Friday criticized the provincial budget 2024-25, saying it was based on mere assumptions.

Talking to the media here in the assembly premises, he said the provincial government claimed that it had presented the budget while breaking the tradition, but there was nothing new for the people in it.

The finance minister himself had admitted that the KP government was depending for 92 percent funds on the Federal Government and strangely he claimed that he presented a surplus budget.

A Rs 300 billion supplementary budget was presented to hide the corruption of the government, he alleged.

Ibadaullah said that the budget had no relief for the common man, rather it was just manipulation of words. The government was in haste to get the budget passed before June 3, he added.

The opposition leader said that allocation of Rs 2.5 billion subsidy for the BRT (Bus Rapid Transport) system  was unjustified as so many schools could be built by that amount.

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