Haroon ur Rasheed
The caretaker provincial cabinet of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has approved the expenditure estimates for the upcoming fiscal year from July 1 to October 31, 2023. The estimated expenditure for the first four months of the next financial year is 462 billion 42 crore and 60 lakh rupees.
Allocation of Funds for Planned and Merged Districts
In the budget for the next financial year, more than 350 billion four million rupees have been allocated for the first four months. Out of the total current budget of the province for the four months, 309 billion 498 million rupees have been allocated for the planned districts, while 40 billion 543 million rupees have been allocated for the merged districts.
Annual Development Programme
For the first four months of the financial year 2023-24, a total of 112 billion 385 million rupees has been allocated under the development budget. This includes 92 billion 122 million rupees for the planned districts in the annual development program.
Additionally, 43 billion 333 million rupees have been allocated for the Provincial Development Program for the Districts, 8 billion 667 million rupees for the District Annual Development Program, 37.131 billion rupees for the Foreign Project Assessment (FPA), and 2 billion 99 million rupees for the resolved Public Sector Development Program.
Pay and Allowances and Pension
In accordance with the increase in pay and allowances and pensions announced by the federal government, the estimated expenditure for the next four months is 35 billion 41 crore 12 lakh 52 thousand rupees. The provincial supervisory cabinet has approved a 35% ad hoc relief in the salaries of provincial employees from grades 1 to 16 and a 30% ad hoc relief in the salaries of provincial employees from grades 17 to 22. The pension of provincial government pensioners has been increased by 17 and a half percent.
10% of the funds allocated for ongoing schemes under the FY 2023-24 budget will be released. The concerned department will prioritize projects nearing completion and those in snow-covered areas while banning new projects.
At the request of the Health Department, a 100% release policy will be implemented for the procurement of medicines and other essential items. MTI Hospitals will receive a 25% monthly release, and non-salary budgets will also be released monthly. The allocation for maintenance and repair as well as wheat subsidy will be determined based on requirements. The purchase of physical assets will be completely banned, and the release of local government funds will occur on a monthly basis.
The caretaker cabinet has implemented major measures to cut down on austerity and unnecessary expenditure. As part of these measures, new recruitments will be banned for the next four months, except for essential positions. The purchase of new vehicles will also be prohibited, although exceptions will be made for ambulances, fire engines, tractors, motorcycles, recovery vehicles, and life-saving boats.
Furthermore, participation in seminars and workshops abroad at government expense will be strictly prohibited, and such events will not be conducted in 5-star hotels.
The provincial government will also cease funding treatments abroad, and no new recruitments will be made without obtaining a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the surplus pool. Fresh recruitment for vacant posts in the Dying Cadre will also be suspended.
Development schemes, including the construction of new posts and the purchase of vehicles, machinery, equipment, and furniture, will require prior clearance from the Finance Department. Additionally, posts that have remained vacant for the past three years in various departments will be eliminated.
Measures for the Betterment of the Province and its People
The caretaker government has prioritized efforts to secure the merged districts’ share in the National Finance Commission (NFC) award and obtain funds from the federal government for electricity net profit. To ensure transparency, no department will be allowed to retain government revenue in its bank account. The government is also committed to collecting arrears from the federation in various areas. The budget for the next financial year reflects these efforts.