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LAHORE: Punjab cabinet, which met here Monday with Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz in the chair, approved provincial budget worth Rs. 4480.7 billion for the FY 2023-24.

The cabinet also approved budget allocations for the special initiatives of the Chief Minister and Rs 25.6 billion for the subsidy on agriculture. It also approved supplementary budget 2023-24, besides extending the budget for July-October, November-February and March 2024.

The provincial cabinet also approved amendments in the Punjab Sales Tax Service Act.

The cabinet appreciated Finance Secretary Mujahid Sher Dil for giving a satisfactory briefing to the IMF team.

It is worth mentioning that Rs 655 billion have been allocated for the development expenditures, Rs 20 billion for social security measures.

Addressing the meeting, the CM said,

“Due to visible improvements in the price control, prices of commodities are coming down to an unprecedented level."

The cabinet at the outset was briefed that so far Ramazan Nigahban hampers have been delivered at the doorsteps of more than 3.5 million families across the province. The delivery of Ramadan package will be completed within a week.

Moreover, Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz Sharif and PML-N supremo Muhammad Nawaz Sharif co-chaired a meeting to review a proposal to build civic administration centers in three cities of Punjab in the pilot phase.

The authorities concerned gave a detailed briefing that these centers will reduce the work pressure on police and will provide speedy justice to common man. They advocated, ”Temporary measures are not enough, a solid policy should be brought instead for price control.”

They proposed to handover matters like price control, violation of environmental laws, violation of the Forest Act, hoarding, adulteration, labor laws, dengue and encroachment to the new department. It was also proposal in the meeting that enforcement powers of Local Law and Special Laws, Price Control, and Police may also be given to Civic Administration Centres for effective implementation.

Muhammad Nawaz Sharif said, By correcting demand and supply, the prices of essential commodities can be controlled automatically.

Maryam Nawaz Sharif highlighted, There is no price control mechanism, capacity building of the departments is imperative. She added, New systems are needed in all districts for effective price control and waste management.

The CM said, There should be a regular department which will be responsible for price control throughout the year.

She directed the authorities concerned to present a comprehensive plan after further deliberations in this regard.

PML-N supremo Muhammad Nawaz Sharif congratulated Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz and her team on the success of Ramadan Nigahban Package.

Meanwhile the Punjab CM said that decision has been taken to start metro train projects in three cities of Punjab. While co-chairing a meeting with PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, the CM sought a plan for the underground train project in Lahore.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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