The Punjab Assembly on Friday started discussion on the Rs87.43 billion supplementary budget for the outgoing fiscal year. Only one, Pakistan Peoples Party’s Ehsanul Haq Nolatia, of the 17 members who spoke during the session discussed the supplementary budget. The rest gave speeches on the Money Bill for the upcoming year (2011-12) the assembly had already passed on Thursday.
The house will debate the supplementary budget for two more days (on Monday and Tuesday). Voting on the budget will take place on Tuesday.
Nolatia said such a large supplementary budget was an indication of the bad governance in the province. He questioned more than Rs7 billion spent in pensions over and above the amount allocated for the purpose. Also, he criticised the government for making allocations for the flyover project at Kalma Chowk in Lahore without approval from the house.
He said taxpayers’ money should be spent only after the government has sought permission from the house. He said an additional Rs689,000 was spent by Agriculture Improvement and Research Department on research last year. He said the government should have added these allocations in its Money Bill last year.
Other members requested the speaker that since they were not given a chance to speak during Thursday’s debate on 2011-12 Money Bill they should be given permission to deliver their speeches on Friday. These included Qaiser Abbas, Sardar Sher Ali Khan Gorchani, Najmi Saleem, Sakina Shaheen, Qamar Ahmad Chaudhry, Sheikh Alauddin, Rana Munawar Ghous and Ahmad Saeed.
Of the Rs87.43 billion supplementary budget, Rs371,515,000 was spent by Land Revenue Department, Rs248,986,000 by Forests Department, Rs3.4 billion (Rs3,460,447,000) by Irrigation and Land Reclamation, Rs149,314,000 by Jails and Convict settlements, Rs2.34 billion (Rs2,340,447,000) by Police Department, Rs137,838,000 by Public Health, Rs262,639,000 by Agriculture, Rs163,195,000 by Industries, Rs1.83 billion (Rs1,836,741,000) by Communications, Rs7.2 billion (Rs7,224,895,000) in flood relief activities, Rs7.8 billion (Rs7,803,856,000) to give pensions and Rs38,918,000 for general administration.
The remaining amount has been spent under the following heads: administration of justice, civil works, interest on debt and other obligations, floating debt discharge, payment of loans from federal government, registration charge on account of motor vehicle acts, taxes and duties, museum, fisheries, cooperation, stationary and printing, civil defence, state trading in medical stores and coal, agriculture improvement and research. The assembly had last year approved a budget of Rs583.6 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 25th, 2011.
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