ISLAMABAD: Gilgit Baltistan’s (GB) budget for the next fiscal year with a total outlay of over Rs119.3 billion was presented at the Gilgit Baltistan (GB) Assembly in Gilgit on Monday.
Out of the total outlay of Rs119.32 billion, it has been proposed that Rs61.4 billion be allotted for non-development expenditure and Rs47.88 billion for total development schemes during the next fiscal starting from July 1, 2022.
Presenting the provincial budget, Minister for Finance Javed Ali Manwa said that the non-development budget of Rs61.4 billion includes Rs47 billion of federal grants allocated for FY23 whereas the estimated budget deficit of Rs9 billion would also be met by the federal government.
The non-development side includes Rs3.50 billion as non-tax revenue which the regional government expects for the next financial year. Besides, Rs1.21 billion as a lapsed amount during FY22 has also been included in the estimates whereas Rs221 million has been included as unbudgeted non-tax revenue of FY22.
The minister also informed that the development budget for next fiscal year has also been set at previous level of Rs47.88 billion which included Rs17.96 billion of provincial Annual Development Plan (ADP), Rs18.50 billion of federal PSDP, Rs8.24 billion of non-spent development budget of outgoing fiscal year, Rs2 billion as foreign exchange component, Rs1.18 billion of unspent vertical projects.
Moreover, the total budget outlay also includes Rs10 billion of wheat subsidy, including the center’s share of Rs8 billion and Rs2 billion of sold prices of the commodity for the next fiscal year.
The minister announced that an increase of at least 15% increase in salaries of government employees are being proposed in the budget whereas the minimum wage for contingent employees would be fixed at Rs25,000 per month in the region.
As per the budget from July 1, 2017, employees will be given 15% DRA allowance of basic salary while officers above BPS 20 would be given 25% DRA.
During the next fiscal year, Rs2.25 billion have been proposed for the education department and Rs1.20 billion for health sector development.
The government has allocated Rs1 billion for local government and rural development, Rs765 million for agriculture, Rs174 million for forest department, Rs121.7 million for minerals and industry development and Rs48 million for food sector. It is also proposed to allocate Rs288.5 million for the Department of Tourism and Culture and Rs266.5 million for the Department of Social Welfare.
Presenting the budget in the assembly, the provincial finance minister said that Rs5.5 billion has been set aside in the non-development budget for service delivery.
Through the budget for the financial year 2022-23the provincial government has proposed a complete ban on the creation of new posts in GB except for the posts required for development projects. Upgradation of any post has also been banned in the next fiscal year.
Fatehullah Khan said that there would be a complete ban on purchase of all types of vehicles except motorcycles, school buses, ambulances and fire engines in the area; Principal Accounting Officers (PAOs) would be bound to minimise the expenditure incurred on utilities i.e. electricity, gas and telephone while government officials’ right to buy magazines and newspapers has been abolished.
All outstation meetings will be held through interlinks except in unavoidable circumstances whereas there would be a complete ban on all foreign tours except those that are unavoidable due to the state’s or the public’s interest.
Similarly, lunch and dinner will be banned from the state treasury. A 40% reduction in the current limit on POL expenditure will be ensured. It will be prohibited to bring employees from other departments to the GB Secretariat without prior approval of the finance department.
It may be mentioned here that the regional government is going to take stiff budgetary measures after the regional assembly approved a bill seeking an increase in the salary of lawmakers up to 135% two days ahead of the budget.