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Balochistan govt unveils Rs419b budget for fiscal year 2019-20.

QUETTA -- Balochistan Finance Minister, Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi unveiled the Provincial Budget for the financial year 2019-20 of total outlay of Rs419.9 billion showing a deficit of Rs47.7 billion in its projected income and expenditure in the Balochistan Assembly on Wednesday. The budget announced by the minister includes Rs, 126 billion of public development programme.

The budget while presenting by the Finance Minister the opposition members continued protest, thumping desks against deficit budget.

During budget the opposition members tore the copies of the budget speech and other documents before staging walkout.

The minister announced 10 per cent pay raise in government employees in BPS-1 to BPS 16 and five per cent in the salary of employees in BPS 17 to BPS 20 and implement minimum wage of Rs17500 a month in line with the federal budgetary decision.

Almost 88 per cent or Rs328bn of the province's income of Rs372.1bn next fiscal year comprises federal transfers from the tax divisible pool and straight transfers. The provincial tax and nontax receipts of Rs34bn will form about nine per cent of the total provincial revenues.

Foreign grants and loans will make up for the remainder revenues. In order to improve provincial own tax and nontax income in future, the government has initiated tax and public finance reforms to mobilize additional resources and plug leakages and waste of limited resources.

Apart from radically hiking the public development spending - which is 30 per cent of the total provincial expenditure and includes Balochistan's share of Rs18bn from the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), the budget has allocated Rs43bn for grants and subsidies, Rs20bn for payment of loans and interest, and Rs16bn for investments.

Another Rs215bn, including Rs34bn for payment of pensions to retired provincial employees, has been set aside for running the affairs of the government.

The government plans to create more than 5,400 new jobs in the education and other departments, build 21 trauma and emergency centres along the highways, initiate Apna Ghar Housing schemes, launch Green tractor programme for farmers, invest in small solar generation schemes, and award 7500 scholarships to students. Most of the development funds have been diverted to the ongoing schemes while initiating new projects in different areas.

The private sector will be roped in to build new model towns and modern schools in the province as the government has already established Project Development Fund (PDF) and Viability Gap Fund (VGF) to incentivize private investors under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. The budget has also made allocations for survivors of natural disasters and their rehabilitation, as well as for survivors of terrorism through the newly created Victims of Terrorist Fund. A Rs1bn Endowment Fund has been launched to help the destitute.

The minister said the priority areas for development included education, health, fisheries, drinking water, minerals, agriculture, forests, livestock, science and information technology, road infrastructure and so on. He also announced a Rs3bn Quetta Development Package and Rs1bn Safe City project for Gwadar and Quetta.

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Publication:The Balochistan Express (Quetta, Pakistan)
Date:Jun 20, 2019
Words:550
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