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Underutilisation of ADP funds in KP feared

Underutilisation of ADP funds in KP feared

PESHAWAR: The upcoming PTI government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is likely to face an uphill task of spending its Annual Development Programme as it will have eight months of the current fiscal after the end of the current interim budget’s period in October, officials say.

Unlike the federal government and other provinces, the outgoing KP government didn’t present the 2018-19 budget forcing the succeeding caretaker setup to announce interim budget for July-October period.

In June, the current interim government had announced Rs198 billion ‘expenditure authorisation’ for the next four months.

The interim ADP allocated Rs108.3 billion for July-Oct period. Of them, around Rs34 billion was for the provincial component of the programme and Rs74 billion for the donor-funded projects, almost entirely for the ongoing development schemes.

The relevant officials fear that the province will see a repeat of 2013 when the PTI after forming government in the province failed to fully utilise the ADP.

Next govt will have eight months of fiscal as interim budget lasts until Oct

“In 2013, the newly elected government came into being at the end of May, almost a month before the start of the next fiscal, but even then, it couldn’t ensure the complete utilisation of development funds,” an official said.

The official said the situation was likely to be even worse this time around as the interim budget would last until the end of October leaving the upcoming government with eight months to spend its development outlay.

He said new schemes would also need some time to begin in light of the time required for compliance with official procedures and thus, causing further delays.

The official said it would be possible to start development activities in plain areas of the province towards the end of November.

Sources said if all those delays were not enough, the province’s several districts were located in the snowbound areas, where the execution of development work was not possible until March, which left just four months for new projects to be carried out.

They also said the new government would definitely make changes to the development outlay, which could further delay the process.

The sources said the availability of financial resources would heavily weigh on the development outlay given the province’s precarious financial health.

However, officials in both the finance and communication and works departments rejected the fears of the ADP funds’ under-utilisation.

A senior C&W official said there was no question of spending problems even in hilly areas, where, too, the department had prioritised projects.

He said the new ADP was likely to be in force by the end of October or at the start of November.

The official said there was no apparent reason for under-utilisation as the C&W department required up to Rs2.5 billion in addition to its ADP related requirements.

A finance department official also denied the possibility of funds under-utilisation in the current fiscal.

He said the department’s policy ensured that around 75 per cent of funds were released for hilly areas at the start of the fiscal compared to 50 per cent for plain areas.

About the financial situation of the province, the official said the province could well manage its ADP spending.

The details available with Dawn show that the province’s proposed ADP was valued at Rs159.4 billion with a provincial component of Rs73 billion and district component of Rs29 billion.

Planning and development secretary Zahir Shah was not available for comments on the matter.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2018

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