District’s expenses: Peshawar gets deficit budget after delay

Total outlay is Rs10.66 billion; deficit of Rs28 million. PHOTO: FILE

Total outlay is Rs10.66 billion; deficit of Rs28 million. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR: The district budget should have been presented before the financial year began, as per the local government act. However, this did not happen. To make matters worse, the delayed budget that was presented on Wednesday was a deficit budget.

Convened by Peshawar naib nazim Syed Qasim Ali Shah, the session started after an hour’s delay, owning to lack of quorum, while the opposition members were seen wearing black armbands as a sign of protest, saying they were not involved in the budget making process.

City district nazim Muhammad Asim presented the speech in the council for approval, during which he said the current expenditure for 2016-17 has been estimated to be Rs10.66 billion. However, he said, revenue for the ongoing year has been estimated to be Rs10.38 billion, making budget deficit of Rs28 million.

While reading out the allocations, the nazim said Rs980 million has been allocated for development expenditures, while Rs8.5 billion has been earmarked for the salary and non-salary expenditures.

For the ongoing projects, the government has earmarked Rs288 million, while Rs265 million will be spent of current expenditures from the district grant.

According to the budget papers, in the total budget, the provincial government under the Provincial Finance Commission will provide Rs9.55 billion while over Rs560 million will be generated from the District Local Fund. A total of Rs260 million will be given to the district government as the district grant from the provincial government.

On public demand, the city district government has set aside Rs10 million to computerise and preserve all records of the city with the support of USAID, he added.

Besides, Rs30 million has been earmarked for sanitation works in the city. To promote sports and provide the relevant facilities to the people, government has set aside Rs40 million to construct playgrounds and other such facilities.

Moreover, he added, Rs40 million has been allocated to arrange facilities so that Rural Health Centers across the district are run on solar power.

Development money

According to the budget papers, Rs9.88 billion has been earmarked for district Annual Development Program (ADP), which is Rs5.8 billion more than the previous budget’s.

As per the percentage mentioned in the local government act, the district government has earmarked Rs197.71 million for the education sector, Rs98.85 million for health, Rs148.28 million for women development, youth and sports. A major chunk of the ADP, Rs543.72 million, has been set aside as the discretionary fund for the district government.

The funds set aside for the education sector would be used in addressing missing facilities like construction of boundary walls, latrines, provision of electricity, furniture and hiring of teachers and other staff at government schools of Peshawar.

Under the ADP, the government has earmarked Rs30 million for establishment of walk-in clinics and Rs1.5 million allocated for minorities.

For the district members of 92 union councils of Peshawar, Rs27.35 million has been allocated so that development projects could start.

The projects — for which funds will be provided from the discretionary funds of the district government — included establishment of a meter taxi system in the city, for which Rs5 million has been earmarked, while Rs10 million has been allocated for rehabilitation of Muhafiz Khana, a record room.

Furthermore, Rs20 million has been allocated for the purchase of funeral vehicles, Rs138 million for district members’ special initiatives, Rs2.9 million for minority members of the district council, Rs16 million will be given to the female members, Rs0.9 million to peasants, Rs1.5 million to youth members, Rs80.28 million has been allocated for the naib nazim of the district. An amount of Rs 189.14 million has been set aside for the discretionary fund of the district nazim.

The session was adjourned till Thursday (today), where district members will debate over the budget. 

Original news : http://tribune.com.pk/story/1164735/districts-expenses-peshawar-gets-deficit-budget-delay/