KARACHI: The Balochistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir government have unveiled their budgets showing a hefty deficit.
The Balochistan government plans to spend Rs328.5 billion on its operations and infrastructure development in the province during the next financial year despite a much smaller estimated resource envelope of Rs.276.4bn, showing a hefty deficit of Rs52.1bn or 15pc of the total budget outlay.
Presenting the budget in the provincial assembly in Quetta today, Adviser to Chief Minister on Financial Affairs Sardar Aslam Bezanjo said over 86 billion rupees have been allocated for developmental expenditures.
Aslam Bezanjo said over 50 billion rupees have been allocated for the education sector, and 21 billion rupees for promotion of health sector.
The adviser said improvement of law and order has been given great importance and over 31 billion rupees have been allocated for the purpose.
He said eight billion rupees will be spent on agriculture sector.
He said energy sector has also been given a considerable significance in the budget and over two billion rupees have been kept in the budget for conversion of water supply schemes into solar energy system.
The Adviser said nearly 8000 new vacancies will be created for the jobless educated youth in the province. He said a special Balochistan Education Enabler Programme will be launched and 200 million rupees have been allocated for the purpose.
Aslam Bezanjo said seven billion rupees have been allocated in the budget for over three hundred schemes in communication sector.
The Adviser on Financial Affairs also announced 10% increase in the salaries and pension of the employees of all provincial departments on the pattern of Federal Government.
The Pakistan MusÂlim League-Nawaz government in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) unveiled Rs.94.41 billion budget for 2017-18, with a record deficit of Rs13bn.
The government says itâ€™s a â€˜tax freeâ€™ budget.
For the first time in the history of AJK, the development budget is being enhanced hundred percent and provides total outlay to the tune of over 23 billion rupees.
Presenting the first budget of the present PML-N government in the AJK Legislative Assembly, AJK Finance and Planning Minister Dr. Najeeb Naqi said total expenditure for next financial year has been estimated over 71 billion rupees.
Finance Minister said the government is giving top priority to spread network of roads in the state to promote tourism. The government of Pakistan has already included the mega development projects for Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Federal budget.
The Finance Minister said that out of the total development estimates 39 percent has been allocated for communication, 15 percent for power generation projects, 9 percent for local government and rural development, 8 percent for foreign funded projects, 7 percent for physical planning and housing while 22 percent for other sectors.
He said 86 percent funds have been allocated for the ongoing 154 schemes while 32 percent for new development schemes.
He said requisite funds have also been allocated for education, health, tourism, local government and rural development and other sectors. The government allocated 22551 million rupees for education and 6626 million rupees set aside for the health sectors.
The Minister said that 30 billion rupees has been reflected as part of federal development program. Medical Colleges Muzaffarabad and Mirpur and Kairan-Lesswa By Pass road are part of Federal Development Program.
He elaborated that Tao Butt- Muzaffarabad road, Poonch University, Women University Bagh, Complex for Legislative Assembly and Neelum Jehlum Hydro Power Projects will be implemented under this budget.
Dr. Najeeb Naqi said AJK has been made a major beneficiary of CPEC. Under the first Phase of CPEC, Mansehra Muzaffarabad Mirpur Mangla Express Way would be constructed within estimated cost of 142 billion rupees. This project is also part of federal development program. Lower Toppa Kohalla Express Way under NHA is part of Federal Development Program costing over 20 billion rupees. The Minister said Special Economic Zone status is being given to Mirpur under CPEC. He said 1124megawat Kohalla Hydropower Project and 720megawat Karrot Hydropower Project are also part of CPEC.
The Minister informed the house that present government has chalked a new mega project with the name of Tourism Corridor.
He said budget provides the solid foundation for the socio economic uplift of the people of the area, provision of basic amenities of life and to accelerate the pace of developmental activities in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
He announced increase in the salaries of government employees and pensioners as per announced by the federal government.
The Finance Minister also laid before the house the revised budget estimates for the current fiscal year 2016-17 amounting to 76 billion rupees.
Earlier, the AJK cabinet approved the budget proposal for the next fiscal year. AJK Prime Minster Raja Farooq Haider Khan presided over the meeting. â€“ Samaa/APP
Story first published: 16th June 2017