The caretaker government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has approved an increase of 35% in the salaries of government employees between grades 1 to 16 and an increase of 30% for employees above grade 16 in the budget for the four months of the fiscal year 2023-24.
“A total of Rs50 billion for the current expenditure and Rs112 billion for development expenditure have been approved by the interim cabinet,” Finance Adviser to the caretaker KP chief minister Himayatullah Khan told a press conference in Peshawar on Tuesday.
Khan presented the budget in the interim cabinet’s meeting presided by caretaker CM Mohammad Azam Khan. The total outlay of the budget is Rs462.16 billion.
“We expect the budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 to close at Rs815 billion with a budget deficit of Rs4 billion. In this budget, there is no surplus or deficit as the Constitution only allows us to take authorisation for the four months’ expenditure,” said Khan.
He added that the caretaker setup would bear an additional cost of Rs115 billion in the coming fiscal year due to the increment in salaries and pensions. The minimum wage, Khan said, has been increased from Rs26,000 to Rs32,000 in the province.
Other than salary increment, an increase of 50% has been approved in the travelling allowance of the government employees and a 100% increase in special conveyance allowance for the disabled government employees, he added.
The cabinet also approved an increase of 50% in deputation allowance and a 50% increase in the secretariat performance allowance for the lower grade employees.
“We also took austerity measures in the budget as new posts will not be created. The caretaker cabinet also approved a restriction on the purchase of vehicles,” he added.
“The KP Police are working in very difficult conditions. We have increased the constables and lower rank officers’ ration allowance to from Rs650 per month to Rs1,000/month,” Khan stated.
Out of the total departmental expenditure, education has the biggest share with 24%, followed by health, having a share of 17%. “Expenditure of the Police Department is 10% of the total expenditure while pensions and debt repayment amount to 15% of the total expenditure,” the finance adviser said.
“The province generates only 6% per cent of its total resources; including the net hydel profit (NHP) which is KP’s right. This year, we were supposed to be paid Rs62 billion in NHP, however, only Rs5 billion has been received by the province,” he said.
The Constitution of Pakistan guarantees the right of NHP for the federating units.
Article 161 (2) of the Constitution says, “the net profit earned by the federal government, or any undertaking established or administered by the federal government from the bulk generation of power at a hydro-electric station shall be paid to the province in which the hydro-electric station is situated.”
The Finance Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa proposed on June 19 an increase of 35% in the salaries of government employees between grades 1 to 16 and an increase of 30% for employees above grade 16 in the budget.
Moreover, the proposed funds for the settled districts were to the tune of Rs402.61 billion, while Rs59.54 billion were proposed for the merged districts.