Punjab government unveils Rs1970.7b budget for FY 2017-18

Punjab Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha on Friday presented Rs 1970.70 billion budget proposals, the largest in the history of the province, for the fiscal year 2017-18.
The finance minister, presenting the budget speech at the Punjab Assembly with Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan in the chair, said that the budget for the next fiscal year has the the largest development programme amounting to Rs 635 billion, adding that it was unprecedented in the country’s history among all provinces.

The development budget is 15 per cent more than the current fiscal year, the finance minister said.

The finance minister said that the Punjab government has been moving forward with a comprehensive economic growth strategy, adding that the fruits of the strategy are being reaped by the people in the form of economic development, provision of basic facilities in the health and education sectors, overcoming energy crisis and eradication of terrorism.

She said that Rs 1017 billion has been earmarked for the public health, education, agriculture, law and order and local governments, which make up 59 per cent of the total budget. Dr Pasha said that the government’s preferences in the budget 2017-18 were aimed at making the people of Punjab part of sustainable development, whose benefits would be reaped by the future generations and we, as a nation, would be able to attain our rightful status among the developed nations.

Article continues after this advertisement

The finance minister said that infrastructure, good-governance, transparency, merit and supremacy of law were the pre-requisites of investment in the province, adding that Punjab had fulfilled all above conditions. She said that today Chinese investors were engaged in the industry, energy and infrastructure sectors in Punjab while investors from Turkey and other countries are showing keen interest to invest in Punjab.

The minister said that it was a good omen for the economy of the province that over 20 countries had shown their willingness to invest in Punjab during an international business seminar, held in Lahore recently, adding that as many as 57 agreements and
memorandums of understanding (MoUs) were signed at the seminar.

Presenting the Rs 1970.70 billion budget, the Finance Minister said the general revenue receipts are estimated at Rs 1502 billion  while an income of Rs 1154.18 billion is expected to be given to Punjab under the Federal Divisible Pool (FDP), adding that provincial revenues are estimated at Rs 348.30 billion  which include Rs 230.98 billion from the taxes and Rs 117 billion of non-tax revenue. Dr Pasha said total estimate of current expenditures for the fiscal year 2017-18 is Rs1021 billion out of which Rs 258 billion have been allocated for salaries, Rs 173 billion for pensions, Rs 361 billion for local government and Rs 228.10 billion are earmarked for service delivery, adding that the service delivery expenditures are used for the provision of basic facilities of education, law and order and other important services to the masses.

Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha informed the house that a comprehensive local government system has been established during the current fiscal year. She said local leadership has been redressing public problems at the local level, adding that the government has ensured uninterrupted resources to these governments. She said masses have been included in the
decision-making through the induction of local leadership after creation of District Education Authority and District Health Authority.

The Minister said it is a moment of pride to share the fact that the Punjab Finance Commission (PFC) is a transparent and balanced distribution of revenues formula, adding that 44 percent of the divisible revenues of the province have been allocated for these local governments. She said Punjab is the only province to implement formula-based funds and resources distribution for the local governments while no other provincial government of the country could introduce it. Dr Pasha said social sector the top-most priority of the
government, adding that Rs 201.63 have been allocated for this sector including education, health, water-supply and sanitation, women development and social welfare in the development budget for the fiscal year 2017-18 which is 32 percent of the development budget for the next fiscal year.

The Minister said a total of Rs 345 billion is proposed to be spent on education in the next fiscal budget and this amount is 33 percent more than the funds allocated for the
same purpose in the current budget. She said Rs 53.36b have been earmarked for school education in the development budget for the next fiscal year. She said District Education Authorities (DEAs) have been set up since January 2017 across the province under the new
system of the local governments, adding that 230 billion rupees have been set aside for DEAs. She said the government will spend 36.6 percent more on DEAs as only RS 169 billion were to be spent under the old system.

Dr Ayesha Ghous said Chief Minister’s revolutionary initiative ‘Parho Punjab Barho Punjab’ will be continued during the next fiscal year. She said student drop-out rate at schools had decreased by 4 percent during the current fiscal year. She expressed the hope that the government will soon achieve the target of 100 percent enrollment.

Dr Pasha said the World Bank, in a recent report, had rated the initiatives of the Punjab government in the education sector better than all other provincial governments in Pakistan, adding that Punjab was also far ahead of the other provinces in the Gross Enrolment Rate for Primary education with 98 percent. She said Rs 14 billion were being allocated for Non-Salary Budget (NSB) for the day to day needs of school councils at the public sector schools. She said Rs 3.50 billion were allocated for free textbooks at public
sector schools while Rs 6.50 billion was allocated for “Zever-e-Taaleem” program in the 16 backward districts of Punjab where 462,000 girls were getting education. The Minister added that Rs 28 billion had been allocated for Strengthening of Schools programme under which dilapidated school buildings would be restored besides providing Missing Facilities and building 36,000 new classrooms in primary schools. She said 6519 classrooms would be built in 3,421 schools with an allocation of Rs 13 billion under the “Khadim-e-Punjab School Programme.”
Dr Pasha said that 10,000 schools in Punjab would be shifted to solar system under the “Khadim-e-Punjab Ujala Programme” so that education did not suffer due to problems of the grid in certain areas. She said the budget for the Punjab Education Foundation (PEF) was being enhanced to Rs 16 billion in the next fiscal year, adding that 4,275 schools with unsatisfactory performance had been handed over to private institutions through Public School Support Programme (PSSP) and the government had decided to allocate Rs 7 billion for the establishment of Punjab Education Initiative Management Authority in the budget 2017-18 to promote education through the collaboration of private sector. Finance Minister said that Rs 5 billion had been allocated for the Punjab Educational Endowment Fund (PEEF) which would increase volume of the fund to Rs 22 billion, adding that 350000 boys and girls would benefit from the fund. She said Rs 3 billion had been set aside for the establishment of 4 separate Daanish schools for the boys and girls in Taunsa and Mankera, start of classes in Daanish school Mailsi and upgradation of current Daanish schools and Centers of Excellence in the Southern Punjab.

She said Rs 44.60 had been earmarked for Higher Education Department (HED) Punjab while Rs 18 billion had been earmarked for the development programme in the HED under which 50 new degree colleges would be completed, Teachers Academy for teacher training would be established, buildings of 3 new universities would be constructed, Rs 0.70 billion for the Chief Minister’s Language Scholarship for Turkish and Chinese language learning besides other programmes.

Dr Ayesha mentioned that 115,000 laptops would be distributed among talented students during the current fiscal year while this Rs 20 billion project had promoted the use of information technology in the province. The Finance Minister announced upgradation of teachers scales in the school education department in order to grant a superior status to teachers in society, adding that teachers play pivotal role in the development of societies.
She said the grade of Primary School Teacher (PST) had been upped from 9 to 14, Elementary School Teacher (EST) from 14 to 15 while EST already serving in Grade 15 had been upgraded to 16. She said that two additional increments would be awarded to EST in Grade 16 while the same facilities would be given to SSTs. She said honorarium for the teachers under the Non-Formal Basic Education was being increased while the details of upgradation would shortly be notified. She said the implementation of the programme would be effective from January 2018, while 300,000 teachers would benefit from the package.
Punjab Finance Minister said the government had allocated Rs 263.22 billion for public health in the next fiscal budget which was 15.4 percent of the total budget 2017-18.
She said Rs 112 billion had been earmarked for Primary and Secondary Healthcare while Rs 73.50 billion had been set aside for District Health Authorities in the fiscal year 2017-18 budget. She said Rs 20 billion had been allocated for the modernization of DHQs and THQs and provision of modern facilities for treatment. She said 20 additional CT Scan machines would be provided in the district hospitals in Punjab, while the government had decided to hire the services of expert anaesthesiasts from the public and private sector
in the length and breadth of Punjab and 84 doctors had registered under
the scheme.

Dr Pasha said multi-dimensional steps had been introduced under the Chief Minister Health Reform Road-Map Programme to bring about revolutionary improvement in health facilities across the province. She said Rs 0.70 billion had been allocated for the provision of
ultrasound machines at the BHCs and RHCs in the province besides other scores of initiatives. She said Rs 120 billion had been allocated for the Specialised Healthcare and Medical Education Department while Rs 25.26 billion had been allocated for the development schemes in the next fiscal year 2017-18. She said Rs 16 billion had been earmarked for medicines in provincial hospitals for the fiscal year 2017-18 while the current year had Rs 12 billion for the same. She said Rs 0.715 billion had been allocated for the next year for the construction of a modern hospital in Murree which would cost Rs 4 billion.The Minister said Rs 2 billion had been allocated for the Pakistan Kidney and Liver Institute and Research center (PKLI), adding that free treatment had already started at the health facility.

She said Rs 25 billion were proposed to be allocated for clean drinking water programme in the province during the next fiscal year 2017-18 while the government had already launched a mega project “Punjab Saaf Pani Programme”. She said Rs 2.70 billion had been allocated for the establishment of food authority in every city of the province to ensure safe food for every citizen.

Giving out Punjab government’s preference for the agriculture sectors, the Finance Minister said Rs 140.50 billion had been allocated for the agriculture and allied departments including irrigation, livestock, forestry and fishing and food. She said Rs 15 billion had been allocated for the Kissan Package under which various projects would be started besides subsidized fertilisers to the farmers and relief of Rs 6 billion sales tax on agricultural tubewells to the farmers. She said Muhammad Nawaz Sharif Agriculture University will be set up in Multan during the next fiscal year. She felicitated the house as Punjab produced the highest produce of wheat during the current year since the creation of Pakistan, adding that the growth rate in the produce of crops touched 4.2 percent which was way higher than the fixed target of 2.5 percent for the year 2016-17. She said the target of sowing cotton crop had also been achieved this year. She said Rs 41 billion had been allocated for irrigation department, adding that under the various development programmes of the irrigation department many projects will be completed including Jalapur Irrigation Project, Greater Thal Canal Project Phase II and others.

The Minister said Rs 17 billion were set aside for the “Khadim e Punjab Rural Roads Programme” which would help construction and extension of 1400 kilometers long roads in the province. She said Rs 19 billion had been allocated for the livestock sector which would provide succor to the rural population. Referring to the revolutionary initiatives of the Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to achieve balance in the energy demand and supply,
Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha said that Sahiwal Coal Power Project had been accomplished speedily, which was the first project under CPEC completed in the shortest span of time.
The Finance Minister said Rs 180 billion power project would produce 1320 megawatts and start power generation in next few days. The finance minister further said LNG-fuelled Bhikki Power Plant with a total power generation capacity of 1180-MW would also add power in the national grid in a few days. She added many power projects including solar, hydro, Balloki, Haveli Bahadur Shah would be completed shortly and start power generation. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha said that government with Chinese investment has established 300 megawatt Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, which would pave way for revolution in solar energy sector.

She said Rs 15 billion were allocated for industrial sector in the next fiscal year 2017-18 as the government was dedicated to the revival and progress of the industrial sector in the province. She said the government had devised a Comprehensive Industrial Policy to attract foreign and local investment. She said Rs 2 billion had been allocated for the Chief Minister Self Employment Scheme due to its efficacy for the year 2017-18. She said,
under the scheme through the Punjab Small Industries Corporation, more than 670000 women had benefited from the scheme.

The Finance Minister said the government pinned great importance to law and order, and had allocated Rs 198 billion for it for the next fiscal year. She said the government introduced institutional and legal reforms under the National Action Programme (NAP) to rid the country of the menace of terrorism. She said Rs 45 billion had been allocated for the Safe City projects in districts like Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Multan, Bahawalpur, Sargodha and Faisalabad under the Safe City Authority. She paid glowing tribute to the thousands of martyrs from Pak Army, law enforcement agencies, police including DIG Capt (Retd) Ahmed Mubin,SSP Zahid Mehmood Gondal and the masses whose sacrifices had secured peace in the province.

The minister said Rs 90.64 billion had been earmarked for road sector in the next fiscal budget under which the whole road network would be restored and embellished, including the construction of new roads. She said Rs 35 billion had been allocated for the Orange Cab Scheme to provide 50,000 cars to unemployed youth under easy installments while the government would bear all expenses on interest. The initiative would pave way to overcome unemployment in the province. Dr Pasha said Chinese Exim Bank would provide Rs 94 billion for the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) during the next fiscal year. She thanked the Chinese government and people for providing financial and technical support in the project. She criticized those who were elected through the public vote but had created obstacles in the public welfare projects like the OLMT. She pledged that the Metro Bus project would be launched in Faisalabad like Multan.

The minister said Rs 8.50 billion had been allocated for sports and youth affairs for the next fiscal year 2017-18. She said Rs 5 billion had been earmarked for the Regional Development Programme for the fiscal year 2017-18 under which different projects would be completed in the backward districts of Punjab.

She made special mention of the initiative for the welfare and development of women and special children in the province during the current fiscal year. She announced to fix the minimum salary at Rs 15,000. The wages of the daily wagers in Punjab would not be less than Rs 15,000, she added.

Dr Pasha said Rs 1.16 billion had been earmarked for the welfare of minorities in the province for the fiscal year 2017-18 as a civilized state provided protection and rights to the minorities. She said the GST on Construction Services had been reduced from 16 percent to 5 percent from the next fiscal year. The step, she said, would help the construction industry grow in the province. The minister also announced to abolish registration fee on new business firms in the province. She announced that the Punjab government planned to issue Investment Bonds worth Rs 25 billion from the next fiscal year. The masses and organisations could invest in the bonds, besides the purchase and sale. The move would promote savings culture in the province, besides spurring the investment, she added.

The minister said the government had decided to merge ad hoc allowance of 2010 for civil servants in the basic salary and topped it up with a 10 per cent ad hoc relief 2017. Similarly, pension of retired civil servants had also been increased by 10 percent.

She also announced to set up Pay Commission which would review the salaries and
allowances for the next budget 2018-19 and present its recommendations to the government. Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha said that she was happy to present the fifth and important budget of his government. She paid tributes to Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif for his sincerity, tireless efforts and purity of heart in the service of the people of Punjab.

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Must Read

CPPA seeks Rs4.5 per unit hike in electricity price

Power tariff is likely to go up as Central Power Purchasing Agency (CPPA) has sought Rs4.5 per unit hike and National Electric Power Regulatory...