Rs 580.2 bn budget for Punjab -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Rs 580.2 bn budget for Punjab

* Govt employees get 50 pc ad hoc pay raise; CM Secretariat expenses, ministers’ salaries cut by 25 pc

By Mansoor Ahmad

LAHORE: The Punjab announced a record Rs 580.2 billion budget for year 2010-11 on the strength of Rs 112.45 billion additional federal transfers over the previous year; however, Rs 54 billion of this amount will be consumed on raise given to the provincial employees and pensioners.

Punjab Finance Minister Tanveer Ashraf Kaira presented the budget for the year 2010-11 in the Punjab Assembly, which was the third budget of the sitting coalition government.

The Punjab government expects to collect the tax revenue of Rs 36.84 billion this fiscal, against original estimates of Rs 49.64 billion. However, despite poor performance it has fixed provincial tax revenue target for the year 2010-11 at Rs 91.578 billion. The finance minister announced various measures in the finance bill to increase the provincial revenue.

The current expenditures for the next year is estimated at Rs 386.787 billion, which is Rs 68.243 billion higher than the revised estimates of current year. The government has allocated Rs 193.5 billion for the annual development programme (ADP) against the revised estimates of Rs 134.734 billion for current year. The ADP has thus increased by Rs 58.769 billion for the next year.

The ADP allocation looks ambitious as the actual expected resources of the Punjab government after deduction of current expenditure and other expenses amounts to Rs 168.225 billion. There is resource shortfall of Rs 25.264 billion that the Punjab government hopes to cover through Rs 667.4 million federal grants, Rs 12.597 billion foreign project assistance and Rs 12 billion privatisation proceeds. Foreign project loans are usually provided in installments on the performance basis and any delay in projects or inability to fulfil donor conditions results in stoppage of assistance. The Punjab government expects to generate Rs 12 billion through privatisation in next fiscal, although it hardly generated Rs 4 billion under this head in the current fiscal.

The Punjab government employees have been given an ad hoc increase of 50 per cent on their salaries while the pensioners will get 15-20 per cent increase, plus medical allowance of 25 per cent per month for grade 1-15 and 15 per cent for grade 16 and above.

The finance minister announced that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had ordered curtailing non-development expenditures and voluntarily reduced the Chief Minister Secretariat expenses by 25 per cent from the next fiscal. The Punjab cabinet also announced reduction in the ministers’ salaries by 25 per cent.

The Police again got loin’s share in the budget as its allocation had been increased by 13 per cent from Rs 43.27 billion in 2009-10 to Rs 49.20 in 2010-11.

The pro-poor subsidies have been increased from Rs 15 billion to Rs 21 billion, out of which Rs 13 billion would be spent on wheat subsidy and Rs 5 billion on Sasti Roti scheme. In addition, Rs 2 billion has been earmarked for the Ramazan Package and Rs 1 billion for public transport.

The education budget has been increased from Rs 21.503 billion in 2009-010 to Rs 28.885 billion for next year. The government has made separate allocation of Rs 3 billion for Danish schools in its ADP and Rs 2 billion for Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority. The Punjab government has allocated Rs 1.96 billion for Information Technology. The number of seats in the engineering colleges is being increased by 300 from next fiscal that would be increased to 1,200 in the next four years. Similarly, the 452 new seats in the medical colleges of Punjab would be added from the session starting from September 2010. In addition, four new medical colleges would start in Punjab in 2010-11 that would add another 550 seats.

The Punjab government has earmarked Rs6 billion for the provision of free medicines to the patients at all Tehsil and district headquarters hospitals. The revenue expenditure for social protection has been decreased from Rs 1.796 billion this year to Rs 1.42 billion for next fiscal.

The government has earmarked Rs 2 billion for Rescue 1122. The Rescue 1122 service will be made available in all Tehsil headquarters in 2010-11. Currently, this service is available in three districts of the Punjab.
Source: The News