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Home » Peshawar

KPK Budget, -Wise Equity of Allocations Demanded

February 2, 2012

Peshawar: A mere 2.8% of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s development funds for the financial year 2011-12 are allocated to the province’s chronically poor southern s, and 6.1% to the Hazara region.

The criteria for distribution of public funds are not clear. If the NFC criteria are applied, then the due share of the southern s of the province will increase from 2.8% to 21%, and that of Hazara from 6.1% to 19%.

These figures were presented by Mr. Ali Asghar Khan at a people’s assembly convened by Omar Asghar Khan Foundation in Peshawar on Thursday.

The assembly endorsed the demand that the Provincial Finance Commission should be tasked to negotiate criteria on the lines of the NFC and ensure fair distribution of all development funds to the s within KPK.

Equitable use of public funds is the greatest contributor to a people’s sense of belonging and is a force that binds them together,” he said. Mr. Khan pointed out that many of the challenges faced by Pakistan today may be traced to improper use of public funds that benefit a few.

“Areas that do not receive adequate funds are naturally prone to a sense of marginalization and alienation,” he said. He urged legislators to play their due role as public representatives to ensure transparency, accountability and judicious use of public funds. This he said will strengthen democratic institutions in Pakistan.

Mr. Ali Asghar Khan criticized the retention of more than two-third of the total development outlay of Rs.85.14 billion as “block” funds, and demanded transparency in all public budget allocations.

Mr. Khan presented the example of a block allocation of Rs.300 million made for educational scholarships for students in the province in 2010-11, which appeared to benefit students from the Chief Minister’s home of Mardan.

Inequity also extended to allocations for flood rehabilitation in KPK’s budget of 2011-12. Kohistan that accounted for 12% of the total affected population of the province was allocated only Rs.25 million out of a total outlay of Rs.8.46 billion set aside for flood rehabilitation.

On the basis of numbers of affected, Kohistan should receive over Rs.1 billion, or an estimated 40 times more than the amount allocated in FY2011-12.

“We were devastated by the 2010 flood, and are still waiting for government support,” said Haji Ghani of the Kandian Valley in Kohistan during the question/answer session. Citizens from Kohistan, D.I. Khan, Tank, Abbottabad, Haripur, Dir, Malakand, Swat, Peshawar, and other parts of the province participated in the assembly.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Qalandar Lodhi of the PML-Q and member of the KPK assembly said that he supported the demand of specifying allocation and opposition of “block funds.” Mr. Shibli Faraz of the PTI said that it is key to ensure that budgets are properly allocated and also used.

Qazi Asad, Minister of Higher Education, KPK Government said that fairness and transparency in budgets is important, but the culture of patronage politics places many demands on politicians. “This will only change through legislation,” he said. Qazi Asad committed support to legislation that enables more equitable budget allocations.

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