PESHAWAR: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has utilised 22 percent of its development budget as its growth sector recorded the lowest utilization. It dropped by 12 percent, essentially in the development portfolio.
The province lined up a budget of Rs618 billion for the current financial year 2018-19. It has utilised 31.75 percent of the budget during the July-December quarters.
It allocated Rs438 billion for the current expenditure and Rs180 for its development portfolio. At the end of the first two quarters of the current financial year, according to the Mid-Year Review paper, the Finance Department released Rs335.24 billion of both the current and development outlays. The releases included Rs263 billion of the current and Rs71.71 billion for the development component. However, the provincial departments could only utilise Rs155.48 billion of the current and the Rs40billion of the development budget. It comes to 22 percent of the total development budget and 56.83 percent of the development funds released during the first six months (July-December) of the current fiscal year. The growth sector departments such as Energy (Hydro, Oil & Gas), Forests, Tourism, Livestock and Agriculture and Industries had the lowest utilisation as it dropped by 12 percent, particularly that of the development funds.
The first half of the current financial year as the Mid-Year Review document indicates recorded that 54 percent of the overall budget was released and 59 percent of the released budget was utilised during the two quarters. The document noted that despite an average improved release of eight percent under seven functions, there is an average low utilisation of seven percent. The environmental protection showed the highest improved utilisation of about 14 percent despite a reduced release of three percent. It said that the releases during the same period of preceding fiscal year 2017-18 improved by six percent and recurrent budget releases improved by two percent. The first halves also recorded four percent improvement in the utilisation of funds under district salary despite marginally reduced release. At enhanced release by six percent the salary component utilisation dropped by eight percent and the non-salary and operation and maintenance (O&M) releases also improved by six percent but utilization in the sector dropped by six percent.
The social services recorded an increase in releases by eight percent, but expenditure remained low with six percent utilisation.
The growth sector remained the worrisome area during the first two quarters of the current fiscal as utilisation of development funds dropped by 12 percent. The growth sector was allocated Rs104.787 billion in the annual budget. It received Rs48.234 billion during the first six months (July-December) and utilised Rs22.241 billion in the period.
The agriculture sector received Rs4.565 billion of its total budget of Rs7.85 billion and its expenditure stood at Rs2 billion during the first two quarters. The livestock and cooperation sectors got no releases. The Communication and Works (C&W) having reduced release by 23 percent also went low on utilisation as it received Rs12.29billion of its Rs22.60 billion budget and utilised Rs7.94 billion only.
About 58 percent and 34 percent more releases were made to the Energy and Power and Minerals departments, respectively, but the performance review manifested lower utilisation by nine percent by these departments. Energy and Power received Rs3.95 billion of its Rs4.23 billion development budget, but it could utilize Rs35 million over the six months of the current fiscal year. The Minerals sector utilised just Rs220 million of the Rs1.1 billion released to it during the quarters under review. Tourism utilised just Rs644 million of the released funds of Rs1.6 billion.
The Industries sector received Rs3.4 billion of its Rs4.8 billion budget, but it could spend Rs1.60 billion only during July-December quarter of the fiscal. The Housing sector releases recorded an increase by 37 percent. Rs250 million of its Rs392 million share was released to it, but it could utilise Rs125 million only.
The Transport sector with an increased release of five percent recorded 10 percent higher utilisation, the Finance Department paper said.
However, giving the breakdown, it said that the Transport sector received Rs4.14 billion of its Rs39.588 billion budget and utilised Rs1.89 billion during the first two quarters. The Health Department utilization, according to the performance review, remained constant even though it was on the low side. The department could only utilize Rs18.50 billion of the Rs36.57 billion released to it during the last six months against its total budget of Rs58 billion.
The funds utilization by Elementary and Secondary Education remained dismal as it got 19 percent and its utilisation dropped by 24 percent. It received Rs11.14 billion of its Rs22.74 billion share of funds but its utilization remained Rs3.3 billion only.
About 11 percent growth in releases was recorded to the Higher Education department as it received Rs15 billion of its Rs18 billion total budget.
However, its utilisation dropped as it could spend Rs5.9 billion only. With marginal increase in funds release, the Finance Department achieved highest utilisation as it improved by nine percent.