Punjab budget to be presented on June 13

LAHORE: Punjab Finance Minister Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha will present Provincial Budget 2016-17 in Punjab Assembly to be chaired by Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal on Monday (June 13).

The final date for presenting budget has been fixed after getting approval from Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Governor Malik Muhammad Rafiq Rajwana.

According to Punjab Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, the budget of the province would be a developmental budget in which increase in growth rate, public friendly tax collection system, social welfare projects, health, communication and strong polices for better performance of important departments besides practical implementation would be introduced.

She added that Punjab budget would have far-reaching results, as burden on common man would be minimized and luxury services would be focused for increasing tax net. She mentioned that due burden would be put on small traders, and keeping in view the problems of middle class, the formula of recovery of property tax would be evolved. Reforms in tax policy will result in increasing resources and gradually reducing tax rate, she viewed.

Revolutionary measures will also be announced for addressing the problems faced by small farmers and development of agri sector and special attention is being paid to give relaxation in businesses and increase in exports. She said the government was implementing the policy of balanced development.

According to Finance Department sources, the provincial revenue during next fiscal year is expected to be Rs 324 billion and Rs 784.5 billion is to be received from federal government under National Finance Commission (NFC) award.

More than Rs 363 billion will be allocated for development, Rs 130 billion for education, Rs 870 billion for non-development expenditure, Rs 18 billion for the power sector, Rs 125 for the social sector and Rs 44 billion for services sector, Rs 41 billion for irrigation, Rs 23 billion each for special package of the Chief Minister, and filtration plant for drinking water and Rs 30 billion for projects established with the foreign investment.

Under the vision of Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, the Economic Growth Strategy has been drafted and its main targets are to increase the economic growth of the province from 7 per cent to 8 per cent by 2018, create 10,000 jobs for the youth annually, double the private investment in the province by 2018, eliminate terrorism to ensure protection of life and property of the citizens and bringing the exports percentage to 15 per cent.

More than 40 percent of the budget will be reserved for education and health sectors in the budget, while Rs 100 billion will be earmarked for providing subsidy to the farmers during the next two years. The budget 2016-17 will focus ongoing projects instead of new schemes so that these are completed at the earliest and common man can be benefited from them. Steps have also been proposed in the budget document to control price-hike and no sector of public welfare will be neglected.

The Punjab government is also publishing a booklet entitled ‘Citizen Budget’ along with the draft of budget in which difficult statistics of budget and distribution method has been described in simple language. Targets of provincial government, resources of its collection and the objects have been made clear in the budget.-APP