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LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on Tuesday approved the models for civil secretariats in Bahawalpur and Multan and said that both the buildings will be built on modern designs.

"The models have been designed by the Infrastructure Development Authority of the Punjab. Every promise made with the people of southern Punjab will be fulfilled. The PTI government does not believe in hollow slogans and the foundation stones of both the projects will be laid soon," he said.

Meanwhile, Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht presented the two-year performance report to the Chief Minister Punjab. On the occasion, the CM appreciated the performance and directed the Minister to implement the austerity policy, observe financial discipline and ensure further cuts in the unnecessary expenditures. "The finance department adopted an effective strategy to deal with the Coronavirus challenge and ensured funds for development projects along with provision of additional resources to the health department to deal with the virus," he said.

According to him, a tax relief package worth more than Rs 56.5 billion sanctioned to stabilize the economy. Moreover, billions of rupees were provided to the affectees of the virus under the Insaf Imdad Programme and taxes on more than 20 services were reduced from 16 percent to five percent while the rates of stamp duty was decreased from five percent to one percent in urban localities.

He said that a provisional Provincial Finance Commission was constituted and the government is implementing new programmes to bring ease in the lives of the common man. The Finance Minister stated that additional funds' requests worth Rs 14.5 billion have been rejected by the Cabinet Standing Committee for Finance and Development while the finance department rejected requests worth Rs 75.58 billion during the two years.

"Moreover, in 2018 the Bank of Punjab earned Rs 12 billion profit and Rs 14.0 billion in 2019, which is the highest for the bank, while 75 new branches were opened," he said. According to him, administrative matters of public sector companies have been rectified; the financial audit has been conducted and business plans are also designed to increase their resources.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan called on the Chief Minister Punjab and discussed matters of mutual interest. The CM stated that the journey of real development has started and it will not stop. "Consultations with the parliamentarians are given importance in development projects," he added.

CM regretted that politics of the opposition parties revolves around protecting personal interests and its All Party Conference (APC) meaningless objections. "The APC has remained unsuccessful in the past and would meet the same fate again," he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020