Exclusive: Federal govt owes Rs 240b to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa

Ahmed Rasool Bangash

PESHAWAR: The caretaker finance minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Ahmed Rasool Bangash, has disclosed that the arrears owed by the federal government to the province have surged to a staggering Rs 240 billion.

In an exclusive conversation with Hum News, Bangash expressed the urgent need for financial relief as the province grapples with severe economic challenges.

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“The financial woes of our province persist as our funds are held by the federal government,” lamented Finance Minister Bangash. He highlighted the critical shortage, citing a lack of Rs 20 billion for the subsidised flour scheme and an additional Rs 10 billion intended for the assistance of flood victims.

While acknowledging the fiscal challenges faced by the central government, Bangash revealed that caretaker prime minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar has provided assurance of relief to the province. In a proactive move, the prime minister has established a committee consisting of four federal secretaries, with a directive to take necessary actions within a week.

“Despite the financial constraints faced by the central government, we appreciate the prime minister’s commitment to addressing our concerns. The formation of a committee signifies a step towards resolving our financial challenges,” stated Bangash.

The minister said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is currently grappling with difficulties in executing various tasks. Adequate funds have been allocated to hospitals and the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project, while the matter of universities is also under scrutiny.

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However, the financial support from the federal government has been insufficient, he said, adding that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) has also withdrawn support for these institutions, resulting in a decline in the number of public universities in the province to a mere 34.

“If the federal government releases even half of the outstanding amount, we can expedite the completion of essential projects,” said Bangash.

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