LAHORE: The Lahore Development Authority (LDA) has postponed its budget exercise for the fiscal year 2010-11 for an indefinite period.
The LDA was scheduled to table its budget for approval in September.
The decision comes after the Punjab government suspended allocating funds for development work since August 20.
A senior official in LDA’s Metropolitan Planning Department told The Express Tribune that the budget for 2009-10 was also approved after a delay of seven months. This time around, he said, the LDA was geared for budget approval in September but the floods ruined that plan.
“We were planning to present a surplus budget with an estimated income of Rs7.3 billion against expenditures of Rs6.3 billion, leaving Rs1 billion as the surplus,” he said.
The budget has to provide for ongoing and new development schemes under the Annual Development Programme (ADP).
According to official estimates, the opening balance was Rs3.7 billion and LDA had to generate Rs1.7 billion from revenue receipts and Rs1.9 billion from development receipts.
The LDA had meant to allocate Rs2.1 billion for employee salaries and other non-development expenses while Rs4.2 billion had been set aside for carrying out development projects under the ADP.
A major portion of the non-development allocation was directed towards the 50 per cent increase in salaries, raise in medical allowance and increase in the pension of retired workers.
A major portion of the development funds was to support development schemes in LDA Avenue 1 and some other housing schemes, projects under the Lahore Rehabilitation Programme, the development of Madr-e-Millat Road and construction of two parking plazas in the city.
Other development projects envisaged included the construction of Gulshan Ravi’s main boulevard, a new road from Babu Sabu to Multan Road, Bhogewal Road from GT Road to Bund Road, a road linking Ferozepur Road to Shaukat Ali Road alongside Sattukatla drain, patch work on roads in various LDA housing schemes and the provision of basic facilities in katchi abadis.
The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has already forwarded its proposed (deficit) budget to the LDA for final approval by the governing body in the next meeting where the budgets of the LDA and the Traffic Engineering and Transport Planning Agency (TEPA) will also be taken up.
The Wasa’s revenue is estimated at Rs3.1 billion against an expenditure of Rs5.842 billion, showing a shortfall of Rs2.742 billion
A major portion of Wasa’s budget is dedicated to payment of electricity bills, salaries of employees and other non-developmental expenditures. Wasa has proposed an allocation of Rs4.342 billion for non-developmental expenditures. An amount of Rs 1.5 billion has been demanded for carrying out ongoing development projects. No new development scheme is slated for the fiscal year 2010-11.
According to the Wasa officials, the increase in the budget deficit was largely due to a rise in the electricity tariff, 50 per cent increase in salaries of employees, raise in the medical allowance of employees and increase in the pension of retired employees.
Rs1.2 billion has been allocated for the payment of salaries to 6,000 regular and 1,500 for workcharged employees. LESCO’s outstanding dues amount to Rs1.8 billion.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2010.