Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has welcomed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) budget 2019-20 for increasing development allocations of education, health, social protection, energy and environment. However, declining percentage share of these sectors in overall development budget is a cause of concern.
According to a press statement issued here on Sunday, the KP government has earmarked Rs 30,166.72 million education sector development budget for FY 2019-20 which is much higher than Rs 23,254.75 million allocated last year.
Interestingly, this increase in volume has not enhanced the percentage share of education sector in overall development budget, which stands at 9.5 percent for FY 2019-20 and was 13 percent last year. The education sector percentage share in overall development budget hovered between 10% and 26 percent since 2012-13; hence, the proposed allocation for FY 2019-20 has larger volume than last two years but is lowest in terms of percentage share of total development budget since 2012-13.
The statement further said a review of budget data of last seven years reveals that the education sector development allocations have seen many ups and downs. For instance, the allocation of Rs 34,411.66 million in 2013-14 was the highest; but was lowered in revised estimates of same year. Similarly, Rs 30,551.17 million (higher than the proposed budget for 2019-20) was earmarked in revised budget of year 2014-15. These statistics were shared by Raja Shoaib Akbar Senior Program Manager CPDI in a statement issued to media demanding consistency in government policy towards education.
The detail of health sector development allocations over the years is similar to education; for FY 2019-20 Rs 12,753.4 million has been allocated, larger than Rs 10,693.6 million allocated for last year and revised estimate of Rs 10,704.53 million in FY 2017-18. The analysis of development budget data since 2012-13, reveals that highest allocation for health development budget was Rs 16,362.56 million in 2016-17 that was revised to Rs 15,540.62 million at the end of the year. Percentage share of health in overall development budget during these seven years has fluctuated between 4 percent for 2019-20 and 10 percent for FY 2016-17. This situation demands uniformity in government policies towards health development, said Raja Shoaib.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has earmarked Rs 9,551.13 million for hydroelectricity projects which is the highest volume of development allocation for energy sector in the province since 2012-13.
The proposed allocation touches 3 percent mark as share of total development budget of the province. This percentage is only second to budget estimates and revised estimates of year 2014-15 in last seven years; when 4 percent and 3.3 percent share of total budget was earmarked for energy sector respectively.
It is high time that government puts its focus on cheaper ways of producing energy through hydroelectricity than thermal electricity. CPDI demands that a comprehensive roadmap should be devised, to decreased dependence on expensive and environmentally hazardous techniques like thermal electricity and switching to more water based energy projects, said Raja.
KP, being a spot of tourist attraction in Pakistan, holds a special significance regarding environment protection. Though there have been higher allocations in the past but the proposed Rs 5,913 million for 2019-20 is the largest development budget allocation since 2016-17. CPDI appreciates this allocation and hopes that the government shall make sure the proper execution of this budget throughout the year.