MIRPUR (AJK)-The AJK government and the AJK Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AJKCCI) have praised the proposals made by the federal government of Pakistan in the current budget for fiscal year 2017-18, and termed it balanced and growth-oriented.

“This is a peoples-friendly and broad-based development-oriented budget inked by the PML-N government”, observed Ch Muhammad Saeed, the AJK minister for sports, culture and youth.

Ch Saeed, who is former president of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that it is balanced budget as it has tried to alleviate poverty, unemployment by raising salaries of the working class / labourers. He also praised the government for increasing salaries of the government employees and pensioners by 10 percent.

The AJK minister said that by increasing the export surplus, the country would not only be able to successfully meet the trade gap but also help increase exports to a great extent.

Ch Saeed appreciated the high and great gesture shown by the government of Pakistan by doubling the funds for the annual development expenditures for Azad Jammu Kashmir.

Appreciating various salient features, Saeed continued that the government has focused on the uplift of the basic infra structure in the budget to benefit all sectors through raising the per capita income by 30 percent.

“Youth and women development programmes designed through doubling funds to Rs121 billion under Benazir Income Support Programme for the new fiscal year is also another attractive feature of the new financial year budget,” Ch Saeed said. He underlined that talented students would benefit from the programme through the scholarships.

He said that fixed rate on agricultural production will lead to increase per acre yield besides giving an impetus to the overall agricultural development in the country. He said that it was for the first time in the history of AJK that the federal government fixed priorities for development and defence. He termed it a development-oriented budget.

Saeed also appreciated the allocation of funds for the timely completion of 969MW Neelam-Jhelum Hydropower Project and for the upgradation of Mangla Power House, development of hydropower sector with prime focus to add 10,000 megawatts of power to the national grid by the first quarter of next year.

Welcoming the budget, AJK Chamber of Commerce & Industry President Sohaib Saeed stated that incentives to the prospective investors may attract huge investment in the industrial sector across the country. This, he hoped, may help address the issues of unemployment and additional revenue generation through launching of various development projects in trade, industrial and hydropower sectors for the overall socio economic progress of the country.

He told this scribe on telephone Saturday that allocation of due shares to the provinces besides doubling the development funds for AJK to the tune of over Rs22 billion and the allocation of due development funds for Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) were excellent steps by the government.

He further said that the allocation of funds for laptop distribution will lead to overall improvement in the quality of education besides promoting information technology as per the need of the modern age.

The AJKCCI leader also appreciated the increase in the salaries of the workers of private and public sector organisations besides suitable raise in the pensions of the retired government employees. He hoped that during rest of term in power of the incumbent PML-N regime at the centre, the country would be put on fast-track to achieve all the goals and targets announced by the ruling party in its manifesto.

He further said that the country would be able to achieve all goals and targets announced by the PML-N in its manifesto. He also termed, praise worthy, the step of bringing more people under the tax net for boosting the tax sector for ensuring the overall socio economic progress of the country.