QUETTA: The Balochistan budget for the financial year of 2023-24 has been approved. The Rs750 billion budget comprises Rs437b non-development expenditure and Rs229 billion development allocation while the deficit stands at Rs49 billion.
The salary of Balochistan employees from grade 1 to grade 16 has been increased by 35 percent and the salary of employees from grades 17 to 22 by 30 percent.
A total of 4,389 new posts have been proposed in the budget and Rs65 billion has been allocated for health, Rs77 billion for education, Rs53 billion for peace and security
As per the documents, Rs170 has been set aside for 4721 ongoing schemes, and Rs58b for 5,068 new schemes.
The government proposed 100 new primary schools while 50 primary schools will be upgraded while 863 new posts will be created in the education sector.
The government also increased pension by 17.5 per cent and the minimum wage is fixed at Rs32, 000.
The total revenue of the province for the next financial year is estimated at 701 billion rupees.
According to the ruling party BAP leadership, the provincial budget is people-friendly.
The Balochistan government has put the province on the path of development despite all the difficulties, a BAP lawmaker said.
The Balochistan government has been facing financial difficulties as it has not got the due funds from the federal government during the current financial year, according to insiders.
The Centre is yet to release Rs100 billion funds allocated in the outgoing financial year, sources in the Balochistan government said.
The Pakistan Petroleum Limited is yet to clear Rs55 billion dues, the insiders said, adding that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif promised Rs10 billion for flood victims in the province but the government has not got the money.
More than 6 billion was for bridge financing which has not been received, sources in the Balochistan government said.
A report cited the Balochistan CM as saying: “Despite sending reminders, we are not given our constitutional rights.
“The federal government makes promises and assurances but they are not implemented. Our demands are genuine. We are not making any illegal demands.
“The PPL has not been paying our dues for years. The outstanding arrears are more than Rs45 billion. The management authority of PPL is with the federal government.
“The federal government is neither interested nor ready to play its due part. The projects of Balochistan included in the federal PSDP hit a snag because of a halt to funds.
“Even half of the funds allocated for these projects are not released. “There are tenders for federal projects in Balochistan, but the funds are transferred.
“The highways of Balochistan were severely damaged in the floods last year and the NHA has not done any rehab work.
“Eight bridges on the highway connecting Karachi with Quetta and Central Asia were swept away by floods, and even after a year, vehicles are passing through alternative roads.
“The PM laid the foundation stone of the Chaman-Karachi highway in a ceremony one year ago and announced its completion in 18 months but 20% of this project has not been completed so far.
“We are deprived of our due share in NFC too. Our demand is that the new NFC award should be done immediately, which is also a constitutional requirement.
“The federal government should take our demands seriously. If this is not done, the gap created between the federation and the province will widen.
“Deprivation is not acceptable in any case. The people of Balochistan are looking towards us and we are adamant. Practical steps are needed now.”