A total annual budget of Rs19.39 billion for the year 2012-13 was presented in the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly on Monday.
As Finance Minister Mohammad Ali Akhtar read out the budget speech, an opposition legislator Nawaz Khan Naji stormed out of the house, terming the proceedings an exercise in futility. On the other hand, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Janbaz Khan remained tight-lipped throughout the session.
The 22nd session of the assembly was chaired by Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly Speaker Wazir Baig and also attended by Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Mehdi Shah.
The total amount earmarked for the development sector was Rs8.39 billion, whereas the non-development budget amounted to Rs11 billion.
“It’s a success of our government that last year our budget was Rs15 billion while this year it has crossed the Rs19 billion figure,” said Akhtar.
The breakdown of the non-development budget included Rs6.40 billion for government salaries while more than Rs716 million was proposed for official expenditures. The finance minister went on to add that Rs2.072 million had been proposed for retired employees.
To overcome the energy crisis, a staggering Rs2.190 billion was proposed for the power sector which amounts to 32.2% of the total budget. Akhtar said the government planned to complete 25 projects which would generate 14 megawatts of power.
The transport and communication sector was allotted Rs1.240 billion, which amounts to 18.3% of the total budget. On the other hand, the proposed budget for education stood slightly over Rs361 million, an underwhelming 5.3% of the total budget. Rs257 million has been allocated for the health sector, Rs112 million for the agriculture sector and Rs800 million for the environment and forests sectors.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 26th, 2012.
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