PESHAWAR: Haji Zubair Ali, the mayor of the Peshawar Capital Metropolitan Government, presented the city council’s surplus budget for the current fiscal year on Thursday. The budget includes a development outlay of Rs1.6 billion for the metropolitan area.
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Additionally, he gave the council the updated budgetary estimates for 2022–2023, which showed a fall from the expected Rs4.28 billion to Rs2.188 billion.
According to the revenue projections presented to the council, the metropolitan government would receive Rs645 million from the provincial government through the Provincial Finance Commission, along with grants of Rs500 million, Rs316 in octroi, and Rs1 billion to settle debt owed to the Peshawar Development Authority for the general bus stand.
According to the budget records, the council would earn Rs. 475 million in property taxes, Rs. 40 million from the approval of development plans, Rs. 526 million from bus stops and Rs. 163 million from rents.
He laments the refusal of more than Rs. 1 billion in cash.
The development budget includes Rs. 40 million for public parks and Rs. 50 million for college and school renovations.
In addition, Rs100 million has been set aside for janazgahs (funeral homes) and eidgahs, and Rs130 million will be used to solarize offices, schools, colleges, and mosques. According to the mayor, power bills account for the largest portion of the city’s expenses after paying salaries and pensions.
Similar to this, Rs. 20 million will be used to provide wheelchairs to those with disabilities, Rs. 25 million to reward government school students who placed first in exams, Rs. 35 million to provide dowries for poor girls, Rs. 7 million to promote sports, Rs. 10 million to fund public libraries, Rs. 20 million to cover the educational costs of children with disabilities, Rs. 60 million to cover natural disasters, and Rs. 10 million to repair eight buildings.
Additionally, Rs30 million for a new office block, Rs300 million for loan giveaways for employee welfare, Rs40 million to buy land for employee housing, Rs50 million for municipal schools and colleges and Rs60 million have been set aside for the provision of better facilities and maintenance of bus stops.
Similar to this, Rs360 million will be used to pave streets and repair them, Rs50 million to handle traffic problems, Rs21 million to support women, and Rs10 million to aid religious minorities.
In his budget statement, Mr. Ali stated that the metropolitan government had been able to pay salaries and pensions as well as settle other debts despite the province government’s refusal of almost Rs1 billion in PFC and other grants.
He lamented the provincial government’s failure to pay more than Rs1 billion in capital grants while also criticising the metropolitan administration for reducing the PFC grant.
According to the mayor, the PFC grant ought to have been increased to reflect population growth.
But he regretted that, in addition to the funding being rejected to the metropolitan administration last year, it had also been drastically reduced during the current fiscal year.
According to Mr. Ali, it is important that local bodies be strengthened.
In order to pay off its debts, the metropolitan government has asked the province government for a loan of Rs 1 billion. “Our metropolitan government is indebted on account of parking plaza and general bus stand,” the official added.
Due to these problems, according to the mayor, local government has not performed “optimally” during the past 1.5 years. Local body representatives have even taken to the streets to demand their rights, but to no avail.
President Malik Tariq presided over the budget meeting.
Council members offered Fateha for the security personnel who lost their lives in the most recent acts of militancy at the beginning of the meeting.