PESHAWAR - Chief Minister Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Pervez Khattak said on Monday that the 5th budget under his rule in the province would be tax free, balanced and pro-poor.

The budget would be presented before the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Assembly on June 7.

The Chief Minister while presiding over a high-level consultative meeting on the provincial budgetary proposals and Annual Development Programme said that the KP budget would be different from the budget presented by the Centre as, he said, the Federal government’s budget offered nothing for the poor but gave incentives to the elite.

Provincial Ministers, Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs), Principal Secretary to CM Muhammad Israr also attended the meeting.

The Chief Minister said that the provincial government would enhance salaries and fringe benefits of the salaried class. The government would also work on capacity-building of the salaried class so that they would carry forward the agenda of empowering the poor, he said.

Khattak also referred to certain steps in the context of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that he said would give boom to industrialisation in the province.

We are working on improving the basic elements required for investment in the province, he said.  He said that a Coordination Committee comprising home, police and planning and development departments had already been constituted to coordinate for efficient security to the investors.

These efforts, he added, would enhance security level for the investors and would also speed up economic-oriented activities and creating more jobs for jobless in the province.

The Chief Minister also dwelt at length over prioritisation of education and health sectors followed by other social sectors, adding, that it indicated our tenacity to the cause of the poor.

Khattak said that the forces of status quo were receiving the last blows in the battle with the forces of anti-status quo, adding, his government took the power from the powerful and gave it to the poor to make their own decisions.  The empowerment of poor has sent an alarm bell to the elite class, he added. The meeting had a detailed review of the Annual Development Programme (ADP) and approved the development sketch of the schemes.

The meeting approved as many as 58 new and ongoing schemes for education including establishment of ten new postgraduate colleges.

The Chief Minister approved transportation and two public libraries in the new development schemes for colleges in the province.

The missing facilities in the colleges were properly taken care of in the new scheme, the meeting was told. The meeting approved 30 schemes for agriculture sector development which included 17 ongoing and 13 new schemes.

The Chief Minister directed to focus on agriculture sector development including conversion of tube-wells to solarisation.  There would be 36 schemes in Forest Department in the new ADP.

The Chief Minister directed for efficient management and development mechanism for national parks in the province. The meeting approved the 3rd phase of the billion tree tsunami and approved 12 schemes for Food Department.

The meeting gave a nod to 53 schemes for youth in sectors including sports, tourism and culture.

The new budget would provide resources for completing Arbab Niaz Cricket Stadium on fast track.

However, resources for creation of facilities in Rustam Sports Complex, Mardan would be gradually increased. Work on 158 sports grounds had been initiated, of them 85 were entering the completion phase.

Khattak said that from the new fiscal year, his government would restart giving monthly stipend to the poets and literary figures of up to Rs 30,000 per month. The meeting approved 59 schemes for Home, 19 schemes for Haj and religious affairs.

The project for solarisation of mosques was being shifted to Energy and Power Department, which would now have 28 ongoing and 26 new schemes.  In the wake of energy crisis, schemes in public health, street and road lights were being shifted to solarisation.