AJK govt presents Rs163.7b balanced budget
The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) government on Saturday presented its budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 with a total volume of Rs163.7 billion. Of this, Rs28.5 billion was allocated for development programs.
The budget was presented by AJK’s Finance Minister Abdul Majid Khan. The budget session was held in relative calm owing to the absence of opposition members, who had boycotted the session and protested against the government’s policies outside the assembly building.
The estimates for recurring, non-development expenditures for the next fiscal year were listed as Rs135.2 billion. This was up from the Rs112.9 billion in the revised estimates for the ongoing fiscal year.
Moreover, the government allocated Rs28.5 billion for development projects. This was up from the Rs22.8 billion it has spent so far in the ongoing fiscal year.
Total income from revenue for the next fiscal year has been estimated at Rs36.5 billion including Rs25.89 billion from income tax and Rs10.61 billion in other indirect taxes.
The government hopes to receive Rs74.32 billion in variable grants, Rs25.13 billion as state revenue, Rs700 million as water use charges and a further Rs700 million as capital receipts (loan and advances).
Majid alluded to the tiff between Muzaffarabad and Islamabad over the allocation of funds. He said that the federal government had initially allocated Rs26.5 billion for development works in AJK in the budget proposal presented on June 9.
Following a meeting in Islamabad earlier in the week, the federal government enhanced that by Rs2 billion, he said.
The territory expects to receive another Rs500 million in foreign aid.
Despite political opposition we will not let it translate into disloyalty with Pakistan.
While elaborating the salient features of the budget, said that 62% of funds in the Annual Development Program (ADP) had been allocated for 389 ongoing development schemes.
Just 38% was allocated for 263 new projects in the next fiscal budget.
Majid hoped that 107 ongoing projects will be completed during the upcoming fiscal year.
He told the house that 19% of funds in ADP in the fiscal year 2022-23 have been allocated for the social sector, 12% for the production sector and 69% for infrastructure development.
In ADP for the next fiscal year, preference had been given to the communication department with the highest allocation of Rs12 billion while Rs3.3 billion was allocated for housing and physical planning.
The minister said Rs2.17 billion had been allocated in ADP for the next fiscal year for the education department and Rs1.8 billion for the health department.
The minister announced a 15% disparity allowance and 15% ad-hoc allowance on the new pay scales of 2022 for government employees. Moreover, he promised a 15% rise in pensions for retired government employees.