PESHAWAR – The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Department has published its Annual Budget Strategy Paper (BSP) FY 2020-21 with the assistance of DFID-funded Sub-National Governance Programme has developed and published Budget Strategy Paper for FY2020-21. This is a milestone towards transparent and accountable governance.
This year BSP is very comprehensive and includes the socioeconomic outlook of KP, budget performance for FY 2019-20, COVID-19 Impact and government strategy including the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the economy, revenue shortfall and comprehensive plan of emergency spending on COVID-19 and budget strategy for FY 2020-21 – both for settled and Newly Merged Areas. A detailed analysis of the financial impact of an increase in government size and scale in the recent past is also given.
According to the BSP, budget performance of the KP government for the year 2019-20 in terms of revenue collections, development spend and economic growth was progressing as a year of economic growth for KP however, in the wake of the pandemic, the Government has recently downgraded the growth prospects into negative growth territory and the immediate and anticipated contraction in the real economy will also translate into the decline in government revenues. The shortfall in federal transfer to provinces will further be substantiated by the decrease in the provincial own sourced revenue as well as high emergency spend would further squeeze the fiscal space for public investment in the provinces.
The Finance Department is revising and reconsidering every cost, reducing unnecessary allocation and only prioritizing the services in sectors such as health, education, police and relief and rehabilitation. As part of the budget strategy, the Government is keen to reform its policies to avoid unnecessary costs, maximize development spending to revive the economy, fostering employment opportunities and reforming tax to enhance compliance and increase the tax base. Government signal shows that there will be no increase in taxes, redundant and duplicate taxes will be eliminated.
The government of KP has also approved an allocation of PKR 39 billion for emergency expenditure especially for investment in the health sector for the provision of all necessary infrastructure and equipment to combat the COVID-19 in addition to Federal Government relief and economic stimulus package of PKR.1.2 trillion. It is also mentioned in the BSP that at the face of constrained resources, public investment is required to ensure a sufficient level of physical and human resource, also focusing more on health and COVID related costs including PPEs, technical inputs for public sector labs to enhance testing etc.