LAHORE: The Punjab government will unveil the Punjab Budget on June 13 (Monday) for the fiscal year 2022-23 with a total outlay of around Rs 3 trillion, with Rs680 billion Annual Development Programme (ADP).
According to sources on Saturday, the overall volume of the budget was expected to be 22 percent more than the previous budget. Last year, the PTI-led Punjab government presented a Rs 2.653trillion budget with an allocation of Rs 560 billion for the ADP.
As per the Punjab Finance Department, this year the Punjab budget will be in line with the federal budget, focusing on pro-poor initiatives and controlling inflation. Moreover, no new tax will be imposed in the budget while existing special concessions and incentives will continue. To minimise the hardships of businesses, trade, and commoners due to the energy crisis, the government has decided to continue the tax relaxations and exemptions given during the last two years.
“The overall volume of Punjab’s budget for the next financial year will be increased while the size of the development budget will be more than the uplift budget of last year along with keeping the focus on social sectors, including health and education.” A large portion of the budget will be spent on achieving development goals. The priority of the government in the budget for the next financial year will be the development of the social sector and the revival of the economy. Several important initiatives will be introduced. To achieve the sustainable development goals, the solution of public problems at the district level will be ensured, it added.
The government also intends to increase the salaries of government employees and the minimum wage. “The next budget will be a public-friendly budget in which no class will be ignored; it will bring good news for both government employees and the working class,” it said.
Moreover, the department added that the government has planned to launch a special aid package to control inflation while steps will be made to control the price of edible items alongside increasing the purchasing power of the commoners.
The department further said that different schemes are designed to reduce the energy bills by efficient use of the energy. “These steps will not only reduce the load shedding but also curtail the electricity bills. Similarly, the facility package of Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz for the availability of flour at lower prices will also be continued,” it added.
Commenting on the new budget, the Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz said that the focus of their budget is to provide relief to the common man in the present difficult economic situation and to bring essential edibles to the access of the common man. “We are taking extraordinary steps to bring ease in the lives of the people. No burden would be put on the poor people in the coming budget and further steps would be taken to alleviate difficulties of the common man,” he added.
He said the country is passing through economic turmoil and they are making utmost efforts to divert the prevailing situation towards betterment. “We are making a comprehensive plan to provide relief to the masses facing price-hike agony and special steps would be proposed to control inflation. The package of providing subsidized flour across the province will continue in the next fiscal year,” he added.
Meanwhile, it was still unclear who will present the budget in the Punjab Assembly. The Punjab government has yet to appoint a finance minister. Two names are circulating for the finance portfolio: Makhdoom Usman of Pakistan Peoples Party and Mian Mujtaba Rehman of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). Punjab government’s spokesperson Attaullah Tarar told the media that the decision on the matter will be decided within two days.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022