Trade: (Punjab budget balanced: PBIF)

June 14, 2015 Off By Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF) and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain, on Monday, lauded around Rs14.5 billion Punjab budget 2015-16 for its focus on education and health while demanded increased support for agriculture and anti-terrorism.

The budget will provide relief to masses, government employees and labourers, however 7.5 percent rise in salary of government employees and Rs 1000 increase in wages of labourers appear inadequate to meet both ends in the wake of hike in the prices of essentials, he said.

In a statement issued here on Monday, he said that 15.9 percent increase in developmental outlay, hike in health budget by 14.5 percent and increase in educational disbursement by 27 percent as well as decision to establish universities speaks of focus of the provincial government led by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Provision of one million jobs, 15 percent quota for ladies in government jobs and allocation of 258 billion for energy are laudable steps which will have a positive effect on standard of living of millions, he added.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that allocations for anti-terrorism and agriculture are insufficient which must be reconsidered while working of revenue authority should be improved.

Improvement of police culture and earmarking Rs 300 billion for southern Punjab will ensure even progress while metro bus project will shun the impression of preferring Lahore and Rawalpindi over less developed areas.

He also lauded allocation of Rs150 billion for solar park, generating power through LNG and interest-free loans to skilled people asking other provinces to follow the suit.

However, he added, for improving provincial economy Punjab government needs to strive and provide incentives for expansion of cottage industry which appears to be a neglected area; it will also address the issue of unemployment to a great extent.

He said that last year a good sum of the developmental budget worth Rs 275 billion was not used therefore the Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif should ensure transparent and meaningful spending of currently allocated Rs 400 billion for development in the current budget.