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Punjab govt has total of Rs 533 billion circular debt

15 June, 2016

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LAHORE: The Punjab government has a total of Rs 533 billion circular debt. The government will be in a position to collect agriculture tax after two years, and the present condition of the agriculture sector is due to the ignorance of the previous governments, stated by Punjab’s Finance Minister Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, while addressing the post budget press conference at CM Secretariat here
on Tuesday.

Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah, Minister for Agriculture Dr Farukh Javed, Punjab government spokesman Zaeem Qadri, Rana Arshad, Chairman Planning and Development Jehanzaib Khan and provincial secretaries were also present on this occasion. The finance minister said that 57 per cent of the total provincial budget for the fiscal year 2016-17 has been earmarked for health, agriculture, clean water and establishing peace in the province.

Ayesha Ghaus Pasha said out of Rs 312 billion for education, funds would be utilised for Punjab Strategic Schools, and a two year plan to train teachers and provide scholarships would be provided in collaboration with the private sector. She said unlike the past, their aim was not to score political points, but to focus on the social sector comprising education, health, as well as clean drinking water for the citizens. She said Rs 30 billion would be spent to facilitate citizens with the clean drinking water.

She claimed that public representatives’ suggestions have been included in the budget’s proposal, which is why this would be the people’s budget. She said agriculture was amongst the top five priorities of the government, and Rs 147 billion had been reserved for this sector. An additional Rs 100 billion was earmarked for tube wells, subsidies on fertilizers and small loans for farmers in order to promote the agriculture economy.

The finance minister said due to good policies of the provincial government, tax recovery increased by 30 percent in the province, and now new taxes had been imposed on beauty parlours, plots and other sectors.

To a query, she said schools would not be privatised, rather schools were being outsourced, and the honorarium of female students from 6-10 class has been increased from Rs 200 to Rs 1000.

Replying to a question about metro train, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah said Orange Train like projects were a demand of the metropolitan citizens and such projects could not be implemented in underdeveloped areas. He said this project would be completed with a cost of 147 billion. However its cost would increase to 450 billion in the next five years and benefit 0.25 million citizens.

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