ISLAMABAD - Critical sectors in disaster mitigation, rural development and low cost housing had not gained the intention of federal and provincial governments as expenditures carried out in these areas under the poverty reduction initiative drastically declined during last fiscal year.

Expenditures on natural calamities and other disasters had drastically come down to Rs27.5 billion during the year 2016-17 from Rs59.2 billion of the preceding year, according to a summary of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) budgetary expenditures. Spending on mitigation, rural development, low cost housing and other sectors are part of the Annual Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) expenditures. The PRSP initiative was launched in 2000 with close collaboration of international lending agencies aimed at improving and monitoring pro-poor spending in Pakistan.

The federal government’s spending on disaster mitigation had increased to Rs17 billion during the last financial year from Rs13 billion of the preceding year. However, spending of three provinces except Sindh has declined, as Punjab’s spending on natural calamities and other disasters reduced to Rs5.3 billion in year 2016-17 from Rs28.5 billion of the year 2015-16. Sindh’s spending had recorded slight increase and went up to Rs1.8 billion from Rs1.6 billion. Meanwhile, spending of Khyber Pakhunkhawa and Balochistan had recorded decline.

The government had spent a total of Rs30.9 billion on rural development during last fiscal year. The federal government’s spending had reduced to Rs555 million during the year 2016-17 from Rs1.4 billion of the preceding year. Punjab had spent an expense of Rs8.9 billion in the year 2016-17 as against its spending of Rs10 billion of the year 2015-16. Sindh’s spending on rural development increased to Rs5.5 billion from an already low level of Rs441 million. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa could spend only Rs9.4 billion – a reduction of Rs5 billion– while Balochistan spent Rs7.1 billion as against a spending of Rs11.6 billion.

Similarly, the spending on low cost housing stood at Rs422 million in the year 2016-17 a reduction of Rs38 million over the comparative period.

The federal government and provinces have utilized Rs526.4 billion on construction of roads, highways and bridges with the highest expenditure by the federal government of Rs345.8 billion was followed by Punjab with Rs127.8 billion, Sindh Rs7.9 billion, KP Rs28.6 billion and Balochistan, Rs16.2 billion.

A total of Rs328.9 billion were spent on health with Rs230 billion for development purpose and Rs99 billion for current expenditure. The federal government’s spending stood at Rs46.9 billion, followed by Punjab with Rs148.8 billion and Sindh with Rs64.1 billion. Spending by the KP government on health was Rs47.8 billion and Balochistan government spent Rs21.4 billion.

Spending by federal and provincial governments on education was Rs699.2 billion during the last fiscal year with the federal government, Rs108 billion, Punjab, Rs260.6 billion, Sindh, Rs146.7 billion, KP Rs136 billion, and Balochistan Rs47.7 billion.

Spending on law and order remained Rs356.2 billion with Rs132.5 billion by federal government, Rs89.9 billion by Punjab, Rs64.8 billion by Sindh, Rs46 billion by KP, and Rs22.8 billion by Balochistan government. A total of Rs3.3 billion have been disbursed through Baitul Mall by the federal government and total expenditure through Benazir Income Support Programme remained Rs107 billion. Total expenditure on agriculture sector by federal and provincial government remained Rs258 billion and on social welfare and security Rs106.9 billion were spent.