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September 28, 2018

PTI inherited bankrupt Punjab, claims minister


September 28, 2018

LAHORE: The Punjab government had bankrupted on Rs100 billion when the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) took charge and the government had utilised its borrowing limit of Rs37 billion, besides Rs57 billion contractors’ payments were carried forwarded to the next financial year.

In a briefing to Lahore Economic Journalist Association (LEJA) here Thursday, Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakhat disclosed that total debt of Punjab had increased to Rs693 billion while only last year 24 percent increase in it was made.

Furthermore, the financial management of pension and salaries was also ignored as the pension bill of the province reached Rs228 billion in the last financial year while the salary bill increased to Rs314 billion after the last increment was announced by the PML-N led Punjab government during the last financial year to get political mileage only.

The minister said that out of Rs635 billion Annual Development Plan Budget only Rs411 billion was utilised. This exposed the real issue of under capacity of the institutions to spend the development budget. Additionally, this has also exposed the wrong ADP size of the government which knowingly the capacity of the institution fixed a higher ADP size in the budget for political mileage only.

Hashim Jawan Bakhat said the expenditures of the Chief Minister house and camp office were huge which would be cut down under the austerity measures adopted by the government. Further, he mentioned that provincial austerity measures committee will meet twice a month to ask the departments about the austerity measures adopted by them and outcome of it.

The minister said that besides this year budget which would be announced in October, the government decided to start work on resource mobilisation for the next year along with Annual Development Plan for the next fiscal year.

The PTI ADP plans for the five years would be outcome-oriented model instead of previous input-oriented contractors’ model. Similarly, spending and utilisation of all allocated budget would be ensured besides monitoring the spending, he added.

On revenue measures, Hashim said that Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) by registering over 50,000 taxpayers besides over Rs110 billion revenue collections was performing well as compared to Board of Revenue (BOR) and Excise and Taxation Departments. However, huge potential existed to further improve it by broadening the tax net. He said the government also focused on non tax revenue as well and asked the non revenue departments to increase their revenue generations by fines and other measures. However, the government has focused on increasing tax burden on those who can afford it and rescue the others.

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