PESHAWAR – The provincial cabinet Friday formally approved the budget proposals for the financial year 2020-21.
The special meeting, held with Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan in the chair, was attended besides all cabinet members, by Chief Secretary, Additional Chief Secretary and Administrative Secretaries of the provincial government. The cabinet also approved proposed austerity measures to overcome the issue of financial constraints being faced by the government due to the prevailing corona situation.
The austerity measures will expectedly make a saving of Rs. 5 Billion to 10 Billion to the provincial exchequers during the next financial year. These austerity measures include ban on the purchase of new vehicles of 1600 CC and above for the government functionaries, foreign training, tours and medical treatment of government officials on public expenses, holding of official workshops and seminars in five star hotels, launching projects involving purchase of new vehicles and creation of new vacancies without prior approval of the Finance Department, expenditure against the expected supplementary grants, cuts on non-salary components of the current budget and ban on new hiring without obtaining NOC from surplus pool.
However, ban on new hiring will not apply to recruitments against the newly created positions for newly merged districts. All the autonomous and semi-autonomous bodies will also be bound to adopt these austerity measures. The cabinet was given a detailed briefing on various aspects of the budget including the annual development programme, budget estimates, revenue targets, finance bill and supplementary budget etc. The cabinet was informed that the total volume of the new budget was to the tune of Rs.923 Billion whereas revenue target for the next financial year was set at Rs. 49 Billion.
Expressing his views on the occasion, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan termed the budget as a balanced and best one in the prevailing scenario and said that neither any new tax had been levied nor the rates of the existing taxes have been increased in the budget. He said that major chunk of the upcoming Annual Developmental Programme had been allocated for the completion of ongoing schemes. He said that more than 600 ongoing developmental schemes will be completed during the next financial year.
Mahmood Khan directed the provincial ministers and administrative secretaries of all the departments for result-oriented steps to ensure completion of all the due for completion schemes of their respective departments within next financial year and to show physical progress in this regard as per the given timelines.
The Chief Minister said that Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) had been developed to evaluate the performance of all the departments on quantitative basis, and soon after the budget session he would hold regular meetings to review the performance of all departments on the basis of KPIs adding that red letters would be issued to the low performing departments.
He said timely completion of the ongoing developmental schemes of merged districts was the top priority of his government and expressed his satisfaction on more than 80% funds utilization against releases for the developmental schemes of these areas during the current financial year. He directed all the departments to take necessary steps from the beginning of the next financial year to ensure 100% utilization of funds.