GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan’s annual budget will not be passed by the regional assembly if it lacks input from elected representatives.
Leader of Opposition in G-B Legislative Assembly Shah Baig shared these views while speaking to journalists in Gilgit on Sunday.
Baig’s remarks have surfaced days before the annual budget for financial year 2016-17 will be announced. The opposition leader’s comment reflects the wishes of lawmakers who find themselves short-changed by the strong bureaucracy involved in preparing development schemes in the region.
“The government must arrange a pre-budget session to account for the views of lawmakers,” he said.
Baig said G-B Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman is subservient to the bureaucracy. According to the opposition leader, Rehman has preserved the interests of secretaries instead of the public.
“He is submissive to a few secretaries who prepare the budget document without consulting the lawmakers,” Baig added.
The opposition leader said if the budget was passed without the input then it would be “tantamount to insulting the house”.
“Funds worth Rs6 billion will lapse in June due to the government’s inefficiency as no development projects have been completed this year,” he said. “It seems Rehman is [more] accountable to secretaries than to the people.”
The other view
On the other hand, the chief minister said over Rs7 billion was spent on development projects out of Rs10 billion development budget. The remaining amount would be spent by the end of the fiscal year.
Rehman was speaking at a meeting held on Saturday.
“However, if some of the funds are not utilised, it would not lapse but will be utilised next year.” Rehman added
The chief minister said his government completed 242 projects that were left incomplete by the previous government. He added work on another 100 projects was initiated to ensure public welfare.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2016.