ISLAMABAD - In Pakistan, health is not top priority for the federal and provincial governments in terms of spending budget, as they spent more money on building roads and highways instead of improving health facilities in the country during previous fiscal year.

According to documents of the Ministry of Finance, spending of the federal and four provincial governments on building roads and highways had recorded more than 100 percent increase as against 15.9 increase in budget of health sector during the year 2015-16. The governments had spent Rs397.51 billion on roads and highways as compared to Rs268 billion spent on health sector. In health sector, more than 71 percent of the budget was spent on paying salaries and other heads instead on initiating new projects.

The federal government’s spending on roads and highways enhanced to Rs194.9 billion during FY2016 as against Rs87.7 billion of the preceding year, showing an increase of 122 percent. The Punjab government had spent Rs149.7 billion on infrastructure, Sindh Rs22.4 billion, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Rs18 billion and Balochistan spent Rs12.5 billion during last financial year.

On health sector, the federal government’s spending registered at Rs35.8 billion during FY2016 as against Rs36.1 billion of the FY2015. The Punjab government spent Rs123.2 billion, Sindh Rs61.6 billion, KP Rs31.5 billion and Balochistan Rs15.9 billion.

The federal and four provincial governments had spent Rs663.4 billion on education sector during FY2016 as against Rs599.05 billion on the corresponding period last year witnessing an increase of over 10 percent in one year. The federal government spent Rs119.2 billion, Punjab Rs251.5 billion, Sindh Rs135 billion, KP Rs112.2 billion and Balochistan spent Rs45.5 billion on education sector during FY2016.

The documents further revealed that federal and provincial governments have spent Rs438.4 billion on social security and social welfare during FY2016 as against Rs229.4 billion in FY2015. Similarly, spending on natural calamities and other disasters had shown an increase of 46 percent, as it recorded at Rs59.2 billion.

A total of Rs437.1 billion had spent on subsides during the FY2016 included Rs218 billion by the federal government, Rs163 billion by Punjab, Rs49 billion by Sindh, and Rs2 billion each by KP and Balochistan. Spending on Law and order remained Rs306 billion with Rs112 billion by federal government, Rs81 billion by Punjab, Rs58 billion by Sindh, Rs33 billion by KP, and Rs21 billion by Balochistan government.

A total of Rs 3 billion have been disbursed through Baitul Maal by the federal government and total expenditure through Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) remained Rs100 billion. Total expenditure on agriculture sector by federal and provincial government remained Rs239 billion.

The governments overall spending on Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme (PRSP) had recorded an increase of 25 percent during previous financial year 2015-16 as compared to the preceding year 2014-15.

According to official figures of finance ministry, the federal and provincial governments have spent Rs3,084.7 billion on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Programme (PRSP) during FY2016 compared to Rs2,454.7 billion in the same period last year.