Punjab presents Rs1.044tr budget

Saturday, June 14th, 2014 5:11:30 by


The Punjab government presented its total financial outlay of Rs1.044 trillion on Friday amid a prolonged and vociferous protest of opposition members for “not addressing the issues of their constituencies”.

Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan presided over the ninth session of the Punjab Assembly where the opposition staged a protest in front his dais as the budget was being announced.

Opposition leader Mian Mehmoodul Rashid started the protest as soon as Punjab Finance Minister Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman commenced his budget speech. The opposition members stood up from their seats and shouted slogans against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) leadership.

The opposition tore up the copies of the budget speech and threw them on the assembly staff sitting around the Speaker’s dais.

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was sitting silently while the treasury members replied to the opposition’s slogans.

However, Shujaur Rehman continued to announce the budget, unperturbed by the uproar. The development budget expenditure for Punjab is set to be Rs345 billion this financial year, he announced.

Punjab allocated Rs345 billion for its development budget, the Annual Development Programme (ADP), for the financial year. Out of this, Rs290 billion have been earmarked for core ADP, Rs40 billion for other development initiatives and Rs15 billion for special initiatives.

Finance Minister Shujaur Rehman announced that the focus of the budget is on welfare schemes, power plants and education. Salaries of government workers also saw a 10% increase.

A total of Rs273 billion have been allocated for education, with Rs48.31 billion for development projects related to the sector.

On the energy front, the PML-N government has earmarked Rs31 billion for 19 energy projects, including 100 MW from solar and 1,620 MW from coal-based projects.

The Punjab government proposed to spend Rs121.80 billion for the health sector at the provincial and district level. Under public health, Rs17.11 billion has been allocated for different projects of potable water and drainage.

The province with fertile lands has set aside Rs14.97 billion for the promotion of agriculture and welfare of cultivators. The government has decided to give a subsidy of Rs5 billion to farmers for providing fertilisers.

A sum of Rs50.8 billion has been allocated for the rehabilitation of the irrigation system, development of water resources and maintenance of canals.

To meet the needs of law and order and coping with growing terrorism, the finance minister announced that the police budget has been increased by 16%, with Rs81.68 billion to be spent in the upcoming financial year. Another Rs5 billion have been allocated for additional needs related to security.

Taxes and revenues

Out of the total general receipts of Rs1.044 billion, Punjab will get Rs804.19 billion from the federal divisible pool and Rs228.87 billion from the province’s own receipts, including tax and non-tax revenues.

The government has set its target of Rs164.7 billion as tax revenue, which is 30% more than the revised target of the previous financial year. Meanwhile, its non-tax revenue target is Rs64.1 billion.

The government has imposed tax on houses measuring between two kanals (1,210 sq yards) and eight kanals (4,840 sq yards).

It has also proposed to impose a luxury tax on imported vehicles with more than 1,600 CC power. Moreover, it has levied a 16% sales tax.

South Punjab

Out of the total Rs345 billion development budget, the provincial government has earmarked Rs119 billion for development projects in South Punjab, which is 36% of the total ADP.

Apart from the package the Punjab government has announced, many initiatives like the establishment of the offices of the Punjab Public Service Commission in Bahawalpur and Dera Ghazi Khan will also be introduced.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 14th, 2014.

Lahore News Sources -2

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