THE KP Government presented a budget that truly reflects the aspirations of the people as it envisages relief and welfare measures for different segments of the society.
The budget for 2021-22, presented by Minister for Finance Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra on Friday, has a total outlay of Rs1, 118.3 billion and Rs371billion allocations for development – Rs270.7 billion for the settled and Rs100.3 billion for the merged tribal districts, which is 10% higher than the last year’s budget allocation.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has justifiably described the budget as balanced, pro-poor and historic as no new tax has been imposed, exemptions have been given to various sectors, and an attempt has been made to provide maximum relief to the common man.
This is also evident from 37% increase in the salaries of the government employees (as against just 10% by the federal government), 10% increase in pension and 100% raise for widow pensioners.
The budget sets minimum wage at Rs 21,000 – one thousand more than the federal government and together with Sindh, which enhanced it to Rs 25,000/- this should serve as an incentive for the Centre to match the figures.
The Provincial Finance Minister made a crucial announcement with regard to pension reforms envisaging reduction of the upper age limit for retirement to 55 years or 25 years of service to minimize the rising pension expenditure.
People would surely welcome several other measures announced by the KP Government — waiver of professional tax, agricultural tax, admission fee for government schools, reduction of the small vehicle registration fee to just one rupee and free of cost re-registration fee, reduction of property tax for those who regularly pay taxes.
Increased allocations for agriculture, health and education and the plan to construct 3,000 kilometres of roads would also go a long way in improving standard of life in the province.