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Punjab budget faces prospect of deadlock?

  • Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz assigns the assembly business of finance department to PML-N senior MPA Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Laghari
Published June 13, 2022
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LAHORE: In the absence of a proper provincial finance minister, the Punjab government has assigned the task of presenting the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for 2022-23 in the Punjab Assembly on June 13 (today) to PML-N MPA Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Laghari.

Both the PML-N and its crucial coalition partner PPP were in a fix over the allocation of portfolios of the Ministry of Finance and Communications & Works (C&W) as the PML-N was of the view that such important seats should not go to the PPP. In this regard, PPP co-chairman and former president Asif Ali Zardari held a detailed meeting with Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz in Lahore last week to end the impasse over their “due share” in the coalition government. However, the PML-N agreed to jointly contest Punjab by-polls but remained reluctant to give PPP important ministries.

In a notification issued by the Chief Minister’s Office on Sunday, Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz assigned the assembly business of finance department to PML-N senior MPA Sardar Awais Ahmad Khan Laghari during the today’s (Monday) budget session of the provincial assembly.

It may be mentioned that the PML-N was under severe criticism, particularly by PTI leaders, for having failed to appoint a proper Punjab finance minister though it was planning to present its ADP for 2022-23, which is unveiled by a proper finance minister as per traditions.

Rs3trn Punjab budget to be presented tomorrow

On Saturday, former Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar issued a “missing alert” on his twitter account asking the readers to locate Punjab finance minister, who is supposed to prepare and present the provincial budget for 2022-23. He asked the readers to contact the Punjab Assembly if they want to know where the Punjab finance minister is; who he said has been missing since April this year. Meanwhile, a source familiar with the budgeting process confided to Business Recorder on Sunday that the total outlay of the ADP in the provincial budget is expected to be around Rs 650 to Rs 700 billion, and it would be the highest-ever ADP for the next fiscal year.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Punjab government said that CM Hamza Shahbaz will preside over a special meeting of Punjab Cabinet on Monday in which recommendations with regard to the new fiscal budget 2022-23 will come under review. He said the provincial cabinet will accord approval to the budget recommendations and it will also approve the supplementary budget for the financial year 2021-22. The meeting will also approve the financial bills of the new fiscal year along with assenting reviewed estimates of the fiscal year 2021-22. The meeting will be attended by the provincial ministers, chief secretary and secretaries of the concerned departments.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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