Balochistan budget passed unanimously
By Saleem Shahid
QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly unanimously approved on Monday the Rs152 billion provincial budget for 2010-11.
The session presided over by Speaker Aslam Bhootani approved 52 demands for grant moved by Finance Minister Mir Asim Kurd.
Concluding the budget debate, Mr Kurd termed it ‘people friendly’ and the largest ever budget of the province.
He said the government had tried to resolve the province’s financial crisis and succeeded in getting maximum resources for development.
Mr Kurd said the first budget of Balochistan presented by the late Mir Ahmed Mawaz Bugti in 1972 was of Rs158 million and it was a deficit budget.
He said pervious governments had not given adequate funds to the province for education, health, drinking water, agriculture and other sectors and, as a result, it remained backward.
He said the coalition government headed by Nawab Aslam Raisani had tried to get rid of Rs23.5 billion overdraft. After its first year, the provincial government paid Rs5 billion to the State Bank and later the federal government wrote off Rs17.5 billion.
Another important success of the government was getting its demands accepted in the 7th National Finance Commission Award.
He said the due share received from national resources through the award, including gas development surcharge, arrears and royalty, had created a lot of opportunities for the province to achieve progress and prosperity.
Mr Kurd thanked President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani and former federal finance minister Shaukat Tarin for the role they played in this regard.
He said Rs1 billion had been allocated for procuring medicines and no one would now complain of shortage of drugs in government hospitals and health centres.
He said Rs12 billion had been earmarked for investment in income-generating projects in the minerals and other sectors in consultation with an Investment Board set up in the province. The minister said the government had increased the salary of police, Levies and other provincial forces by 100 per cent that would cost Rs17 billion.
He expressed the hope that this and other initiatives would help to improve the law and order situation in Balochistan.
Mr Kurd said a 50 per cent raise for other employees would help curb corruption. He said the government had regularised 6,000 employees.