PESHAWAR, Jun 19 (APP): Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Taimur Jhagra Saturday said that the people have generally appreciated Khyber Pakhtunkhwa budget and reducing tax collection rates in the budget-2021-22 would certainly promote tax culture.
He said this while addressing a post-budget press conference here at Civil Secretariat.
Additional Chief Secretary KP Shahab Ali Shah was also present on the occasion. Taimur Jhagra said the public opinion on the budget is welcomed and the people have appreciated the budget of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Taimur Saleem Jhagra said that the details of the expenditure have also been made public. He said, the budget of the incoming local governments has been increased by 20 to 30 percent.
The government has increased TMs budget from Rs. 9 billion to Rs. 15 billion so that at one hand all the problems being faced by the people could be addressed at the local government level and on the other hand mega projects of development could be initiated, he informed.
He said, the budget has been increased so that money allocated for development works could not be used for salaries. He said that the Budget figures were factual and based on facts and the federal government had also promised to pay the funds.
Taimur Saleem Jhagra said that no attention had been paid in the past to improve the power system and the federal government had made significant progress in paying net profit of hydropower, adding, for the first time in last 8 months, net profit of hydropower is being paid regularly.
The federal government has agreed to pay Rs 36 billion in arrears of net profit of hydropower, Taimur Jhagra disclosed and added, the revenue has been increased to Rs 4 billion and the government has set revenue target at Rs 75 billion. He said, the element of trust in the government was low in the past.
About the tax collection he said, steps have been taken for reducing tax collection rate that certainly boosts tax culture.
“If the situation in Quetta improves, the economic situation will improve further”, he said and added that the government had provided substantial funds for the Billion Tree Tsunami while the provincial government was releasing substantial funds for the tribal areas.
Another key step the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has taken is to give loans of more than Rs 10 billion to the people. About the increase in salaries of the government employees, he said that the issue was under serious consideration in view of difficulties of government employees besides granting a record Rs. 10 billion subsidy on food items.
The KP Finance Minister said, hard times have passed and the time to come will be better and despite corona situation, this is a historic and unique budget. Regarding reservations on salaries and allowances,
he said that a committee had been formed to look into the matter. All reservations and issues will be resolved after careful consideration and the government employees will not be deprived of their rights as housing allowances have different ratings.
Regarding debt burden on Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, he said, that the government had taken two types of short and long term loans; interest rates on short term loans are very low for which there is a transparent method of repayment while long term loans with a term of 30 to 40 years are very easy and regular.
He said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government was not facing any difficulty due to repayment of loans which is two percent of the total budget. He said that Rs 100 billion had been allocated for merged districts and not a single penny would be wasted.
“We are trying to vaccinate 7 to 9 million people by September and that is why the vaccination of 18-29 year old citizens and women have been started,” he said. The health department and the KP govt will not allow the shortage of coronavirus, he underlined.
Preferring to the ongoing projects of new scheme, Additional Chief Secretary Shahab Ali Shah said that there were 214 major ongoing projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and tribal areas. He said that the government was mainly focusing on small dams in tribal areas besides paying attention to minerals in Chitral.
The budget, he said, has also focused on agricultural development and full attention is being paid to health, education, construction and repair of highways and other sectors.
To promote healthy sports activities in the province and bring the international cricket to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the government is constructing three world class Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium,
Hayatabad Cricket Stadium and a world class Cricket Stadium at par with the need of International Cricket Council and Pakistan Cricket Board in scenic Kalam area of Swat. To explore tourism potential, Shahab Ali Shah said that the government was paying due attention to the construction of roads in Chitral.