PTI presents Rs2.027 trillion budget in Punjab Assembly amid uproar

Budget covers remaining eight months of fiscal year 2018-19

Imran Adnan October 17, 2018

LAHORE: Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has presented its first provincial budget for the remaining eight months of the current fiscal year 2018-19 with a total outlay of Rs2.027 trillion, having a surplus of Rs147.8 billion.

Punjab Finance Minister Makhdum Hashim Jawan Bakht, presented his government’s first provincial budget amid opposition’s protest in the Punjab Assembly on Tuesday.

The budget documents made available to The Express Tribune show that the government has estimated general revenue receipts of Rs1.653 trillion, including Rs1.276 trillion from the federal divisible pool share, Rs375.9 billion from provincial tax and non-tax receipts.

The estimate of the current expenditure for ongoing fiscal year is Rs1.265 trillion, which includes Rs305.6 billion or 24% for service delivery expenditures, Rs313.4 billion or 25% for salary expenditures, Rs207.6 billion or 16% for payment of pensions and Rs437.9 billion or 35% for provincial finance commission (PFC).

During the budget speech, Punjab Finance Minister Makhdum Hashim Jawan Bakht highlighted that the government has presented a reformative budget to correct the wrongdoings of the previous governments. He pointed out the Punjab government has created a surplus of Rs148 billion to support the federal government in overcoming the current economic crisis.

The minister highlighted that the government has earmarked Rs373 billion for education, which is Rs28 billion higher from the previous fiscal year. Last year, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government has allocated merely 8% of its ADP for the health sector, while his government has allocated 14% or Rs258.1 of its development budget for healthcare.

He underlined that the PTI government has reformative and people focused agenda. The government has prepared the provincial budget and formulate its development strategy by focusing on health, education, housing and employment to increase support and facilitation for people living under the poverty line.

Highlighting the salient features of the provincial budget, Bakht said the government was launching economic package for farmers, young entrepreneurs and investors. The government is going to introduce easy credit scheme for farmers through the one-window facility.

Criticising outgoing PML-N government, the finance minister said loan was always the last preference for any government to bridge gap between income and expenditures but previous rulers considered it the first option. The flagship project of PML-N government, the Lahore Orange Line Metro Train, has become white elephant for people of Punjab. Earlier, the government disclosed that the project cost was Rs165 billion but now it is expected that it will close over Rs250 billion, he lamented.

He said the PML-N government had a long history of irregularities which pushed the province under Rs94 billion deficits. The previous government had acquired an overdraft of Rs41 billion from the central bank at the end of its term but it failed to clear outstanding contractors’ liabilities of Rs57 billion. Provincial government’s borrowings had surpassed over Rs1,100 billion by the end of last fiscal year, which was unprecedented in the history of the province.

For the fiscal year 2017-18, he highlighted, the PML-N government had announced Rs635 billion ADP but it hardly spent Rs411 billion on developments. Nearly one-third of the development budget was in papers only.

In budget documents, the government has highlighted that for the past many years, Punjab followed an infrastructure-led growth and development paradigm with a provincialised model of development planning. The new government intends to follow a new paradigm for growth and development which relies on human development and empowerment of local governments as the engines of sustainable growth and development.



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