The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government is all set to present a tax free budget for financial year 2021-22 having a total outlay of over Rs1,000 billion including a record Rs 205 billion allocated for Annual Development Program (ADP) and Rs 60 billion for development of merged areas on Friday (June 18). Provincial Minister for Finance, Taimur Salim Jhagra would present the third budget of KP Government at Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly at 3pm on Friday. Finance Department officials told APP on Wednesday that KP Government was likely to announce 25 percent increase in salaries of its employees and officers of Grade 1-18 as announced by the Chief Minister KP that would put an extra financial burden upto Rs 50 billion on provincial kitty. The minimum wages would also be increased upto Rs 21,000 to facilitate daily wages and labour workforce in KP. Task forces would be set up at divisional level to ensure implementation of the minimum wages. The official said there would be no new taxes in the budget, however modification, adjustment and reforms in existing taxes would be made to increase revenue besides creating balance between provincial revenue and expenditures. He said provincial revenue has been increased to record Rs 53 billion in FY 2020-21 against Rs42.3 billion recorded in 2019-20, registering Rs 11.3 billion increase. Similarly, development expenditure has mounted to Rs 205 billion in current financial year against Rs171 billion in 2019-20 with Rs34 billion increase directed to expedite pace on developmental projects despite COVID-19. Similarity, the merged areas’ development budget have been enhanced from Rs 24 billion per year to a record Rs 60 billion per annum focusing on uplift of infrastructure, strengthen of agriculture, health, education, communication and energy sectors. Malik Muhammad Luqman, Senior Planning Officer KP Energy and Power Department told APP on Wednesday that seven new energy and power projects amounting to Rs 5.3 billion were proposed for merged areas for budget 2021-22 to strengthen infrastructure, electricity distribution system and provide uninterrupted power supply to domestic and industrial consumers. The official said 332 mini macro hydropower projects (MMHP) having power generation capacity of 30 megawatt in 12 districts in northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been completed. Construction of additional 672 MMHPs amounting USD 237 million have been proposed for inclusion in ADP 2021-22 under the Prime Minister Access to Clean Energy Investment Program (ACENIP) for which a loan agreement has been signed with Asian Development Bank (ADB). Work on seven different hydropower projects having cumulative power generation capacity of 214MW including Koto 69MW, Karora 11MW, Jabori 10MW, Matioltan 84 MW, Lawi 69MW, Capri Charkhel 10.2MW and Barando 6.5MW with a potential of annual income of Rs 8 billion would continued in next fiscal year. Three mega hydropower projects (HPPs) amounting to Rs 177.244 billion including 96 MW Batakundi costing Rs 40 billion, 188MW Naran of Rs70 billion in Mansehra district and 20.8MW costing Rs 7.224 billion in Shangla district would be developed with collaboration of International Finance Corporation (IFC). He said seven hydropower projects including Malakand-III 81 MW, Daral Khawar 36.6MW, Ranolia 17 MW, Pehur 18 MW, Machai 2.6MW, Shishi 1.8MW and Reshun 4.2 MW with a total power generation capacity of 161.2MW have been commissioned, which would generate about Rs5.4 billion revenue per year. Engr Luqman said that Rs 85 billion 300MW Balakot HPP amounting to Rs 85 billion approved by Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) was ready for groundbreaking. The project would be constructed on River Kunhar in Mansehra with financial assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) district for which consultants and contractors have been already appointed. KP Government is in process of developing 496MW Spat-Gah HPP amounting US$ 1015 million for which Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with MS Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (KHNP). KP Government would contribute 26 percent as equity and M/S Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Company (KHNP) would provide 74 percent share for development of the mega project under PPP mode. Gabral Kalam and Madyan projects PC-1 having power generation capacity of 245MW has been approved by ECNEC that would be constructed with an estimated cost of Rs 115 billion through a World Bank’s loan and the process of land acquisition and award of contract was in the process. Solarization of 8,000 schools, 4,000 mosques and 187 Basic Health Units (BHUs) continued in the province that would benefit 100,000 students besides saving Rs400 million per year and Rs203 million would be saved from solarization of these mosques. KP Government has approved 300 doctors for merged areas for prompt healthcare facilities to ailing tribesmen and would likely start duties from next month. Sehat Plus Cards program would be strengthened after 7.2 million families were provided cards and now the facility was extended to the entire population of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Each family belonging to KP has been allowed to obtain free treatment upto Rs one million in any topped panel hospital of the country. KP Government has decided to include liver transplant and bone marrow treatment in Sehat Cards Plus Program. The official said despite Covid 19, development budget will not be compromised and Rs 205 billion will be allocated for it in the budget. Progress is being made on DI Khan Motorway, Swat Motorway Phase-II, Dir Expressway, Chashma Right Bank Canal and Daraban Economic Zone projects. A mega development project focusing on increasing horticultural land, meat and poultry production besides issuance of Kisan (farmers) cards by August this year to farmers under Prime Minister National Agriculture Emergency Program (NAEP) has been proposed in the budget 2021-22. Under the Agriculture Transformation Plan, 150 moisture meters would be installed to ascertain the moisture level in lands to bring maximum areas under agriculture cover. Under the Prime Minister’s Save the Calf Programme, about 3,80,000 male buffaloes calves would be fattened in the country including 30,000 in KP to increase meat production, he said, adding Rs 6,500 would be provided to registered farmers following their looking after for it least six months besides free milk, vaccination and medicines. Initially, 12,000 metric tons of quality seeds would be purchased for distribution among farmers. Focus would be made on the increase of fruit orchards, establishment of agriculture business authority and seeds industry. The Government would establish a digital service platform besides making focus on restoration of cultivable agriculture infertile lands and increasing honey production. Transfer of tube wells on solar energy, research on different varieties of vegetables, establishment of Agriculture Mart at Peshawar, promoting aquaculture technology for increased fish production, establishment of livestock and animal husbandry University at Swat were also proposed for ADP 2021-22. The department would set up 250 civil veterinary dispensaries, increasing meat, milk and poultry production, extension of breeding network, establishment of Feeds Research Institute and water management offices and storage of rainwater. Tele farming and integrated Agriculture programme would be strengthened and services of model farms centres equipped with all facilities to be expanded. As many as Rs3.3 billion were spent out of Rs12.5 billion allocated for seven gigantic agriculture and livestock projects under three years accelerated implementation programme in the merged areas. Fruit orchards on 3,500 acres have been established and cultivation of vegetables on 8,00 acres lands achieved besides quality seeds, agricultural equipment and training for 8,328 acres amounting to Rs1.5 billion provided to farmers. Work to bring 20,250 acres of barren land under cultivation costing Rs 2.5 billion was underway in the merged areas. As many as 300 small dairy farms and 13 mobile clinics and veterinary centres in different tribal districts. He said Rs1,100 million were spent on prevention of agriculture lands from erosion and desertification in merged areas. KP Government has decided to allocate funds for ongoing 10 billion trees afforestation project besides strengthening forestry and wildlife programs in merged areas. Shelter homes project would be strengthened and social welfare department, Pakistan Baitul Mall and others relevant departments besides philanthropists would be included to provide shelter to poor and needy people especially during harsh weather conditions. Government has decided to increase allocation for the housing department for successful execution of ongoing mega projects to provide low cost housing facilities to poor people under Prime Minister Naya Pakistan Housing Program.