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The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has earmarked a record Rs 319 billion, including Rs 236 billion for settled areas and Rs 83 billion for development the newly merged tribal districts, under Annual Development (ADP) for financial year 2019-20, showing an increase of more than 41 percent as compared to the last fiscal year. Rs 236 billion has been allocated for the development program in settled districts and Rs 83 billion for the merged areas.

The ADP for financial year 2019-20 includes Rs 82 billion foreign aid and loans with focus on the ongoing development projects, while KP will generate Rs 108billion from own resources. Around 32,682 jobs would be created in public sector institutions, while 600,000 jobs would be created in private sector in the province.

According to budget documents, a sum of Rs 6 billion has been allocated for Sehat Sahualat Scheme in the budget. It has been proposed the increase provincial health budget at Rs 55 billion from current Rs 46billion. An amount of Rs 48 billion has been allocated for police, and law and order in the province. Similarly, Rs 46 billion has been estimated for local governments and rural development program.

Finance minister Taimoor Khan Jhagra said the government has reduced various taxes in proposed budget 2019-20, mentioning that out of 58 taxable services of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority (KPRA), the government has reduced 28 taxes below the 15 percent standard tax rates on Restaurants, Marriage Halls, Property Dealers, Electronic Media, Call Centres, Beauty parlors, Gyms, Ride hailing services and etc.

Similarly, the Minister said that the government has also reduced taxes and fee on rest of the sectors where ever it was deemed necessary. In transport sector the government has proposed reduction of fee and bringing it at par with Punjab.

According to the budget documents, an increase 10 per cent in salaries of government employees from grade 1 to 16 has been proposed in the budget, while five percent increase has been proposed for government employees from grade 17 to 19. Due to tough economic condition, the document said the government was in no position to increase salaries of the employees of BPS-20 to BPS 21.

For agriculture sector, the government has allocated over Rs 2billion in the provincial budget for fiscal year 2019-20. For the 'billion tree tsunami' project, a sum of Rs 1.8 billion has been earmarked in the budget. Rs 17 billion has been estimated for promotion of tourism in the province. Likewise, the documents said that Rs 457billion has been set aside for non-development expenditures in the budget. Apart from tribal districts, a 31 percent increase has been registered in ADP 2019-20. Similarly, a sum of Rs 17 billion has been allocated for relief and assistance of Temporarily Displaced People (TDPs) 2019-20 budget. The Chief Minister also approved ADP proposals.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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