- Province releases Rs11bn of allocated budget to local bodies’ representatives
PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has arbitrarily withheld more than Rs17 billion development funds allocated to the local governments for the fiscal year of 2017-18, bringing uplift schemes in most districts of the province to a standstill.
The PTI provincial government had allocated Rs 28 billion, less than 30 per cent of its Annual Development Programme (ADP), for the local bodies in the fiscal year of 2017-18. The provincial government had allocated Rs 126 billion for its development schemes out of which Rs 28 billion (22.2%) were allocated for the local bodies’ governments.
Throughout the fiscal year, the provincial government only released Rs 11 billion – 39 percent of the allocated budget – and withhold more than 17 billion funds which affected the development schemes. In the fiscal year of 2017-18, more than 15 tehsil councils, eight district councils and village and neighbourhood councils of the eight districts didn’t receive a single penny for the development funds.
In the last three years of the local governments, the provincial government has so far reduced their funds up to Rs 37 billion, violating its own Local Government Act of 2013, saying that more than 30 percent of the total ADP will be allocated for the local government. Former chief minister Pervez Khattak had signed a summary according to which, village, tehsil and district councils would not receive funds if they would not use 60 per cent funds.
Legislatures of the local governments say that the decision of not releasing funds to those councils who couldn’t spend more than 60 percent of the allocated budget has brought uplift schemes in almost all the districts to a standstill. Local Council Association senior vice president Fasikhullah told Pakistan Today that the provincial government can’t stop or cut funds of the local government.
He said that they would not allow the provincial government to cut funds of the local governments. To a question about the summary of the chief minister, senior lawyer Saifullah Muhib said that funds can’t be stopped through a summary. He said that the 30 per cent development funds of the ADP for the local bodies were approved by the assembly.
In the fiscal year of 2016-17, the government had also allocated less than 30 percent of its Annual Development Funds by setting aside Rs 33.9 billion for the district development funds which was around 27.1% of the provincial ADP of Rs126 billion.