LAHORE

The Punjab government is focusing on pro-poor schemes in the forthcoming budget for fiscal year 2014-15, which is being presented on June 13 in the 9th session of the Punjab Assembly while Punjab Minister for Finance, Excise and Taxation Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rahman would present the budget. The volume of upcoming budget is likely to exceed Rs1 trillion against Rs898 billion of the concluding fiscal year with around Rs300 billion for Annual Development Programme.

With revenue target from provincial taxation has been fixed at about Rs150 billion while the province will receive around Rs900 from federal divisible pool.

According to provincial finance ministry officials, the govt will prioritise to levy tax on luxury homes and vehicles and the economic managers presently are trying to amend some clauses of this luxury tax which was introduced during the budget of concluding year and was delayed on directives of the courts.

According to the Punjab government officials involved in budget making, the yellow cab, Ashiana, soft loans and laptop schemes would continue in the next fiscal year with enhanced allocations of the resources.

The total outlay for uplift schemes is likely to reach over Rs680 billion due to expected raise in the salaries and 10 percent annual inflationary increase in the non-development expenditures.

The core Annual Development Plan (ADP) is likely to be fixed around Rs300 billion with some additional block allocation of more than Rs 45b for the new schemes.

Rs60 billion will be allocated for education and Rs44 billion for health while Rs22 billion is being spent on energy projects at provincial level.

For Ashiana scheme, the government is likely to allocate about Rs2 billion to start Ashiana projects in Layyah and Mianwali - the stronghold of PTI to woo the voters.

A Punjab Board of Revenue official said various proposals of taxation on immoveable property was discussed in a budget-making meeting but the chief minister was not interested to impose any tax or enhance tax rate in this budget due to political reasons. However, the Punjab Revenue Authority has been empowered to collect GST on service from the concluding fiscal year.

The budget, stated to be pro-poor, would envisage broadening of the tax net and bringing those areas under tax collection which previously were outside the net. Sources said that many proposals are under consideration to increase revenue through tax collection also from agri produce and sale-purchase of the property. Sources further said incentives and subsidies to farmers on fertilizers, pesticides and machinery are also under consideration for the next budget.

They said funds from the social sector development are going to be increased and new areas of public development are being introduced in education, health, traveling, environment sectors while more funds would be allocated for energy and water schemes and infrastructure.

The next budget is also going to give focus on the industrial sector wherein manufacturing, textile, livestock and food processing have been given special emphasis.

The next Punjab budget is likely to carry special programme for employment and self-business schemes for the youth in addition to encouraging and providing special incentives to the students of higher education under the Higher Education Commission Punjab and for those undertaking research oriented education.

According to finance department officials, the Punjab government would also increase salaries and pension of the serving and retired civil servants corresponding with the decision in regard by the Federal Government. They said proposals are under consideration for increasing tax collection for which the tax base would be expanded instead of increasing taxes.