AJK govt presents Rs 121.56b budget for next fiscal year

F.P. Report

MUZAFFARABAD: Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government here Tuesday presented budget for fiscal year 2019-20 with a total volume of Rs 121.56 billion including a development outlay of Rs 24.56 billion which is 11% higher compared to current fiscal year and a raise in salaries of government employees at the rate of 10% for grade 1-16 and 5 % for grade 17-20.

Finance Minister Dr. NajeebNaqi presented the budget in Azad Jmmu and Kashmir legislative Assembly during an uproar by the opposition legislatures. Naqi while unveiling the budget proposals claimed that this was the biggest budget in the history of AJK in terms of its overall volume with no deficit and a huge increase in allocations for annual development program besides increase in income of the government in the heads of income tax collections and others.

Overall income for next fiscal year has been estimated as Rs 97 billion including Rs 18,400 million in the head of income tax collection, Rs 7,200 million in the head of other taxes, Rs 54,850 million as share from the federal taxes collected by FBR, Rs 18,100 in the head of local taxes, Rs 600 million in the head of water use charges being received from federal government and Rs 450 million as capital receipts (loans and advances) and after adjustment of Rs 2,600 million overdraft of state Bank, Rs.97 billion has been allocated for current expenditures.

An outlay of Rs 24.5 billion has been shown in the budget for development schemes including Rs 2.5 billion expected foreign aid while remaining expenditures would be met with the grants of federal government which is 11% up compared to revised estimates of current fiscal year. The Minister said federal government had allocated Rs 2.76 billion in the public sector development program (PSDP) for the development projects of Azad Jammu and Kashmir implemented by Kashmir council and Mansehra- Muzaffarabad to Mangla expressway project worth Rs142 billion had also been included in federal PSDP.

As many as  Rs 3 billion allocated for rehabilitation of people affected by unprovoked Indian forces firing near Line of control (LOC) and Rs 5 billion for reconstruction under ERRA was also the part of federal PSDP. In the development budget, priority has been given to communication and road sectors with an allocation of Rs 9.901 billion which is 40 % of overall development budget, 11 % earmarked for education department, 10 percent for projects of physical planning and housing, 9 percent for local government schemes, eight percent for power generation projects, 6 percent for foreign aided projects, 3 percent for development schemes of health sector and remaining 13 percent for productive sectors.

The finance Minister said 71 percent of development budget had been allocated for ongoing projects having a target of the completion of 186 projects during coming fiscal years while 29 percent funds had been allocated for 208 new schemes initiated during the coming fiscal year. He said a reasonable 24 percent of overall annual development program (ADP) had been allocated for social sectors in the coming fiscal year budget as compared to 19 percent of the current fiscal year budget to ensure provision of basic amenities to the people at their doorsteps.

The Minister said first phase of divisional headquarter Hospital Mirpur comprising 500 beds, general Hospital Rawalakot comprising on 200 beds and Tehsil Hospital Pathika had been completed during the current fiscal year while second phase of extension of these hospitals had been included in the development budget of coming fiscal year. Besides this, construction of doctors and nurses hostels in district headquarter hospital Haveeli, construction of 30 bed Tehsil Hospital at Leepa, establishment of cardiac laboratory at Abbas institute of medical science (AIMS) in Muzaffarabad and construction of cardiac hospital at Bagh have also been included in next fiscal year development budget, he concluded.