Punjab ADP size increased by 66pc this fiscal year: Hashim

LAHORE - Improvement in economic indicators has helped the Punjab government in presenting growth-oriented budget for fiscal year 2021-22 in line with the PTI manifesto. Addressing a post-budget conference here at Chief Minister's House on Tuesday, Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakhat said that it was the first budget that was in line with the PTI manifesto.  Flanked by Chief Secretary Punjab, Secretary Finance Iftikhar Ali Sahoo, Chairman Planning and Development Abdullah Sanbal, Chairman Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) Zain-ul-Abidn Sahi and other senior officers, he said the PTI was clearing the baggage and financial indiscipline created by the previous government during the last three years.  The Minister said that economic growth was 3.94 percent in ongoing fiscal year and hoped that the government policy will increase this above 4 percent in the next fiscal year.  Furthermore, the government had given Rs 2.5 trillion relief package during the covid-19 pandemic and provided financial assistance to the 45 percent of population under Ehsas Programme. 

Similarly, Rs 80 billion subsidy was given on wheat to offset the inflationary pressure from flour (staple food) as the support price of wheat was increased to Rs 1800 per maund from Rs 1400/maund, he said.

The government is closely monitoring the rise in global food prices and allocated resource to keep minimal impact of it to domestic consumer, he added. 

Highlighting the salient features of the budget, Hashim pointed out that the government increased the Annual Development Programme (ADP) size by 66 percent in this fiscal year targeting to Rs 560 billion from ongoing fiscal year.

Govt has planned to release Rs 100 billion in the month of July while all development schemes announced in the development budget will be completed in maximum two years, he added.

In the next fiscal year focus will be on completing ongoing projects rather than starting new projects, he stated.

Appreciating the performance of the PRA, the Minister said that PRA is only provincial revenue collecting agency in Pakistan which registered a tremendous annual growth of 29 percent till May.

Further, the target of PRA for the next financial year has been increased without increasing tax rate, he added.

On the contrary, the expansion of tax net and innovation in the tax collection system are on the rise, he said.

Hashim pointed out that education, health and agriculture are flagship projects for the next financial year while no exhibitory project of self-projections or political mileage is developed.

The government has allocated Rs 80 billion for Universal Health Insurance scheme in the budget to provide blanket cover to the population of the Punjab, he said.

Further, more than 8,500 primary schools will be upgraded to elementary schools under the Insaf Afternoon School Programme, he added.

This is a paradigm shifting project and no such projects were made in the past, he said.

He said that Rs 360 billion district development programme will improve the public works schemes alongside employment creation in the construction sector.

The government has earmarked Rs 100 billion for communication and works which is other than Rs 105 billion PSDP schemes, he stated.

Thus, in total it will spent Rs 205 billion on public sector construction projects, he added.

He said that the agriculture budget was increased by 4 times as investment in agriculture was essential to control inflation and food security alongside exports of the country.

There is need to create balance between demand and supply in the agricultural produce to keep the inflation in check, he stated.

The government will encourage the representation of the private sector in agriculture and adoption of modern technology and techniques in the agriculture in order to increase productivity, he said.

Further, the Model Bazaar Authority was created for permanent establishment of 332 model bazaars across the province, he said.

This will help controlling the food inflation, he added.

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