Pre-budget discussion: ‘ADB to include projects frozen due to lack of funds’

The government reveals its priorities for the next financial year.

Abdul Manan March 18, 2014
The government reveals its priorities for the next financial year. DESIGN: CREATIVE COMMON


The Punjab Assembly commenced its pre-budget session on Monday. Finance Minister Mian Mujtab Shujaur Rehman told the house about government’s budget goals and the priority-based utilisation of the funds.

Rehman said that the government’s economic reforms had improved the financial situation of the provincial and federal governments. He said the Punjab receives 80 per cent of its funds from the federal divisible pool, but it has now improved recovery of provincial taxes and increased its revenue generation.

He said the chief minister’s decision to cut its administrative expenditure by 15 per cent had had a positive impact on resource situation.

“During this financial year, the government has spent a substantial amount on improving law and order in the province,” he said.

He said the government had also introduced many energy related schemes. He said the solar plant being set up in Cholistan will soon generate 100 MW and its capacity will be increased to 1,000 MW during the next financial year. The government has also begun work on six coal power projects in various districts in the present financial year, he said.

Rehman said that the government will allocate more funds to alleviate poverty and unemployment; improve education and health; provide clean drinking water; improve the industrial and agriculture sectors; for energy projects; to promote public-private partnerships; and enhance women empowerment.

He said most of the ongoing development schemes will be completed during the next financial year.

He shared some of the guidelines provided by the government to budget makers. He said during 2014-2015, a three-year plan would be introduced under which several schemes started in 2014-2015 will be completed.

Rehman said the government planned to allocate more funds to ongoing schemes that are near completion. Several schemes that were in limbo because the government had not allocated funds for them this year will be provided funds in the 2014-2015 budget. He said several development projects initiated using foreign aid will also be included in the ADB for the next financial year.

The minister said that the government planned to allocate more funds for less developed areas.

He said provisions for all of the schemes Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had promised during his visits to various areas in the province will be included in the next ADB.

Rehman said the government will also allocate more funds for development projects under the districts’ packages. He said proposals by law makers will also be incorporated in the next financial year.

The law and parliamentary affairs minister said that some NGOs funded by Western countries were trying to malign the state by painting the Muzaffargarh incident in a bad light. He said the chief minister had visited Muzaffargarh and announced action against the officers guilty of negligence. He said investigations were underway and all developments will be shared. The deputy speaker adjourned the session till Tuesday morning.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2014.


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