As elections approach, govt boosts development spending by a fifth

Published: June 2, 2012

Govt bodies and ministries ask for more funds; send demands for review. ILLUSTRATION: JAMAL KHURSHID

ISLAMABAD: 

The government has announced Rs873 billion for the national development budget for the upcoming financial year. The allocation is higher by Rs143 billion – or 20% – compared to the current fiscal year as the government gears up for upcoming elections.

Under the Public Sector Development Programme, an amount of Rs350 billion has been set aside for the Federal Development Budget – Rs60 billion or 20% higher than the amount budgeted for the outgoing fiscal year. Meanwhile, an amount of Rs513 billion has been allocated for provincial annual development plans, which is Rs83billion or 19.3% higher than the development budget for the outgoing financial year. Out of the latter, Punjab will spend Rs206 billion, Sindh Rs188 billion, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Rs78 billion and Balochistan Rs41 billion. The government has also sanctioned Rs10 billion for the Earthquake Rehabilitation Authority, which has reportedly become a ‘permanent concern for the military establishment’.

Federal Public Sector Development Programmes

The Rs360 billion Federal Development Budget will go towards 1,044 projects, of which 97% is to be spent on 972 ongoing schemes, while 3% is to be spent on 72 new schemes. This also includes Rs100 billion in foreign loans against 80 projects; most of them – 42 to be exact – in the power sector.

The allocation also includes a sum of Rs1.83 million to be spent on the restoration of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani’s ancestral shrine of Musa Pak Shaheed in Multan, raising questions about the practice of using taxpayers’ money on patronage of shrines.

Of the Rs360 billion, an amount of Rs242.6 billion has been set aside for 39 federal ministries and divisions – an improvement of Rs58 billion or 31.4% over the current year.

The government has allocated Rs80.4 billion for the Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) and the National Highway Authority (NHA). The allocation is Rs8 billion – or 11% – higher than this year’s budget. An amount of Rs29.7 billion has been sanctioned for Wapda, against Rs32.5 billion for the current year – a reduction of 8.3% or Rs2.7 billion. The NHA’s budget has been enhanced to Rs50.7 billion – which amounts to an increase of 27% or Rs10.8 billion.

For parliamentarians’ schemes, an amount of Rs27 billion has been allocated which is Rs5 billion, or 15.1%, less than this year’s budget. An official of the Finance Ministry revealed to The Express Tribune that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had desired to increase this allocation.

However, the Finance Ministry advised the Premier that due to capacity constraints, his government may not be able to spend Rs27 billion as the government’s five-year tenure is going to expire before the close of the fiscal year.

An amount of Rs13.6 billion has been allocated for the finance ministry, which is largely comprised of allocations for ongoing projects in the Prime Minister’s home-town, Multan. An amount of Rs15.8 billion has been set aside for the Higher Education Commission, Rs6.5 billion for the interior ministry, Rs20.1 billion for the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, and Rs39.2 billion for the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission.

An amount Rs37.8 billion has been set aside for the planning ministry, which includes an allocation for projects still retained by the federal government. Rs22.9 billion have been set aside for the ministry of railways; while an amount of Rs16 billion has been sanctioned for the Ministry of States and Frontier Regions. Similarly, Rs47.2 billion have been allocated to the Ministry of Water and Power.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2012.

Reader Comments (5)

  • vigilant
    Jun 2, 2012 - 12:39PM

    What about higher education????

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Jun 2, 2012 - 1:49PM

    Since when has the Finance Ministry become a development body?

    Are we sure the allocation of Rs 14 billion for development projects (whether in Multan or not) is constitutional?

    And who will monitor project implementation? The Finance Ministry?

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  • Zaid Hamid
    Jun 2, 2012 - 6:37PM

    We should impose Jizya tax like the super-tolerant emperor Aurangzeb.
    Then all problems will be solved.

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  • Dr V. C. Bhutani
    Jun 3, 2012 - 6:30AM

    This is a step in the right direction. A government exists primarily for the people and for their welfare. Future governments should remember to devote a great part of the country’s revenues to development expenditure. That will ensure greater prosperity for the people of Pakistan. Let us hope future governments may be as enlightened as the present one has been – in its fifth year.

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  • Not me
    Jun 3, 2012 - 10:17AM

    This so called development budget is nothing but political palm greasing.
    What are the projects to show out of these funds of past years in Baluchistan and Sindh

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