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April 24, 2019

Social security scheme for senior citizens soon: minister

Lahore

April 24, 2019

LAHORE: Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht Tuesday said the Punjab government is preparing Bahimmat Social Protection scheme which will be launch soon in an effort to provide social security and protection to senior citizens of age 65 and above.

The minister said: “Social protection programmes should be large part of our medium and long term economic frameworks. The Punjab government in the forthcoming budget will take care of marginalised segment of society and allocate more resources in social protection funds.”

Speaking at a pre-budget consultation and book launch titled “Growth and Inequality in Pakistan”, organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), he said the government was looking for out of the box solutions, such as materialising the public-private partnership to help improve the governance and resource mobilisation.

There are some structural changes on the expenditure side of the budget, such sticky expenditure of pensions, which swelled significantly and dictating our revenue allocations. In last seven years, there were around 2048 billion rupees of PSDP spent in the whole Punjab, where 1048 billion rupees spent on Lahore only and 1000 billion rupees spent on rest of the Punjab, which created the regional inequalities, he added. He said: “We have to unlock our dead investment, which is land and should rationally utilize this crucial resource. The future is digital and digitisation of the economy is the way forward for growth and development.”

Dr Hafiz A Pasha, renowned economist and former finance minister, called upon the government for equal tax treatment for all citizens and no special groups including judges and army officials should be given tax exemptions. He said only a broad base political consensus on the economy can help the government to get out of the economic quagmire, where all major political parties can agreed upon the common reforms agenda.

He said the elite of the society who are enjoy extraordinary privileges within the legal framework of the country are largely responsible for the current chaotic economic situation of the country. The quantum of the cost of state captured elite is whopping 2000 billion rupees, which can be used for social protection and wellbeing of the marginal and poor of the country, he added.

warned: Punjab Minister for Industries and Trade Mian Aslam Iqbal has warned strict against those who are creating artificial price hike. The minister said strict action will also be taken against profiteers and hoarders without discrimination.

According to a handout issued here on Tuesday, the minister while presiding over a meeting held to review the price of essential items at his office said it was the responsibility of the government and society to give relief to the destitute and poor people during Ramazan.

He said sale of daily use commodities on exorbitant rates will not be tolerated at any cost. He said Punjab government has eliminated weight and measure fee which will benefit the small shopkeepers.

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