Budget debate: 'Tax measures to trigger new wave of inflation'

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government is likely to present budget for the fiscal year 2019-20 on June 18.

According to sources, the volume of the budget will be around Rs800 billion including annual development programme (ADP) of Rs209 billion. A proposal of setting aside Rs7.19 billion for development projects in Peshawar has been made in the budget.

The sources said the KP government will follow the example of the federal government by introducing 10 percent cut in the salaries of the provincial cabinet members. Similarly, according to the federal formula, the salaries of employees from BPS-1 to BPS-16 will be increased by 10 percent, BPS-17 to BPS-19 will be raised by 5 percent and above ranked officers will get no raise.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Department (ESED) sought budget of Rs13 billion for the year 2019-20. The ESED will need more funds for paying salaries to the newly inducted over 17,000 teachers and other expenditures. The department is also hiring over 5,000 more teachers and it will also require budget for this purpose.

Besides that, a proposal has been floated to allocate Rs4 billion in the head of annual development programme for the merged tribal districts.

The sources said Rs108 billion budget has been proposed for education. Out of this amount, Rs20 billion will be allocated for tribal districts.

These funds will be in addition to the 3 percent share of tribal districts in the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award promised by the federal government. Share in NFC Award was pledged at the time of the merger of erstwhile Fata with KP, but it could not materialise mainly because of differences among the federating units on the resources distribution formula.

Meanwhile, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has said that record amount of Rs150 billion has been allocated in the federal budget for development of the merged tribal districts.

Addressing a function in Swabi, the speaker said a special package will also be announced to promote trade and business activities in tribal districts. He said a new grid station will be constructed in Swabi at a cost of Rs6 billion. Asad Qaiser assured that the problem of clean drinking water in Swabi will also be solved on priority basis.