Punjab presents Rs2653b development-focused budget for 2021-22
Punjab Minister for Finance Hashim Jawan Bakht Monday presented a development-focused Punjab Budget 2021-22 in the provincial assembly with a total outlay of Rs2653 billion, reported 24NewsHD TV Channel.
Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht presented the budget for the fiscal year 2021-22 amid the hue and cry of the opposition parties. Opposition lawmakers continued thumping the desks, whistling and shouting slogans amid his speech.
This was the third budget speech by Makhdoom Hashmi Jawan Bakht and the minister has to raise his voice amid the shouting and hooting from the opposition benches. The intensity of the protest and slogans this time was loud but the minister continued with his budget speech. Opposition members holding posters inscribed with slogans against budget 2021.
Hashim Jawan Bakht, while presenting the provincial budget for the financial year, 2021-22 said that the coronavirus had stalled the progress the world over. He said despite that the Punjab government tackled the pandemic bravely.
He said that the credit for the completion of the Punjab Assembly building which had been pending for the last 16 years went to its speaker Pervaiz Elahi.
He added that Punjab was on its way to progress under the leadership of Prime Minister Imran Khan and Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar.
He claimed that the provincial budget for the next financial year represented Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) manifesto as well as people’s expectations. “Let me remind this House that when PTI had taken over in 2018, the country was passing through the worst economic crisis as evident by the fiscal deficit, circular debt and other poor economic indicators which all we had inherited from the preceding PML-N government,” the minister said, and added, “The province which was being projected as developing at ‘Punjab Speed’, was under the debt of Rs56 billion.”
Similarly, he said, overdrafts of over Rs41 billion and over 8, 000 incomplete projects were awaiting the PTI’s Punjab government as a large chunk of the province’s resources had been spent on pretentious projects.
He said despite the covid-19 pandemic, the Punjab government has brought exemplary improvement in revenue collection and claimed that they would collect Rs359billion against a target of Rs317billion, a 13.1 percent increase. He said Punjab Revenue Authority collected historic tax despite a decrease in the tax rate on the 25 sectors which would be 42% more than previous year
He told the House that the total outlay of the provincial budget was being estimated at Rs2,653 billion, which was 18 per cent more than the current financial year.
Hashim Jawan Bukht said that the target set for federal tax collection for the next financial year was Rs5,829 billion. “Rs1,684 billion will be given to Punjab under the NFC Award which are 18 per cent more than the current financial year,” he informed.
The finance minister said Rs405 billion had been set as a target for the provincial tax collection, which was 28 per cent more than the ongoing financial year.
He informed that the ongoing expenditures had been estimated in the budget at Rs1,428 billion. “I am feeling glad to announce a historic development programme for the province for the next fiscal year.”
He said Rs560billion has been earmarked for the development budget and a 66 percent exceptional increase in the development budget in one year is proof of the PTI government’s preferences and vowed that this development would reach every nook and corner of the province.
He said Rs206billion has been earmarked for social sectors including health and education which are 110 percent more than the last fiscal year.
“For Infrastructure development, Rs145.4billion have been earmarked, for special programmes Rs 91.41billion and for industry, agriculture, livestock, tourism and industry etc Rs57.9billion have been specified.”
Punjab finance minister further said that funds of Rs370 billion had been allocated for the health sector in the next FY. “Total health budget is of Rs96 billion which is 182 per cent more than that for the ongoing financial year,” he said, and added, “The most notable of these projects is Rs80 billion worth Universal Health Insurance Programme under which the entire population of Punjab would be provided quality treatment facilities and that too free of cost. Under the programme, the entire population of the province will have its health insurance by December 31, 2021.”
The minister said that Rs78 billion had been proposed for the specialized healthcare sector in the next financial year. “The amount will be spent on the construction of Peads and Burn centers at Children Hospital, Lahore besides a 1000-bed hospital, a 200-bed Mother and Child Hospital in Multan, and the provision of a City Scan Machine to Nishtar Hospital, Multan,” he explained.
Similarly, he said, Mother and Child Hospitals would also be built at Rajanpur, Layyah, Attock, Bahawalnagar and Sialkot at the cost of Rs24 billion.
The minister informed the House there was a proposal to earmark Rs19 billion for projects under the department of Primary and Secondary Healthcare. “A comprehensive programme will be launched for the up-gradation of Punjab’s 119 THQ hospitals at the cost of Rs6 billion in the next FY,” he said, and added that state of the art district headquarters hospitals would be built at Chiniot, Hafizabad and Chakwal, which would cost the provincial government over Rs16 billion.
Likewise, he added Rs11 billion had been earmarked for the treatment of tuberculosis, AIDS and Hepatitis patients under the Preventive Healthcare Programme.
Hashim Jawan Bukht informed that more basic health units would be built in the province while the RHCs would be upgraded
He told the House that in order to vaccinate the entire population of Punjab, there was a proposal to allocate Rs10 billion. “The Punjab government plans to earmark over Rs35 billion for the provision of medicines at government hospitals,” he elaborated.
Punjab minister for finance further said that state-of-the-art trauma centers would be built in 14 cities of the province at the cost of Rs3.50 billion.
Hashim Jawan Bukht told the House that the total budget reserved for the education sector in the province stood at Rs442 billion, which was 13 percent more than that for the current year. “Around 8, 360 primary schools of Punjab, which constitute 25 per cent of the total number of private schools, will be made elementary schools,” the minister said, and added, “Out of these schools, 40 per cent are situated in south Punjab.”
Furthermore, he said, Rs6.50 billion had been allocated for the up-gradation of schools in the next financial year.
The minister informed that the education of 3.3 million children of Punjab would be funded by the provincial government under the Punjab Education Foundation and PEIMA for which Rs23 billion had been allocated.
“Keeping in view the enormous importance of higher education, funds of Rs15 billion will be earmarked for the sector in the budget which are 285 percent more than those reserved last year,” he revealed.
Besides that, he added, universities would be built in each and every district of Punjab in order to ensure access to higher education. “So far six universities have been built in the province since the PTI took office in 2018,” he told the House.
Hashim Jawan Bukht further said that the construction of universities in eight Punjab districts namely Attock, Gujranwala, Rajanpur, Pakpattan, Hafizabad, Bhakkar, Layyah and Sialkot had been approved while seven universities would be built in Bahawalnagar, Toba Tek Singh, Muzzafargarh, Dera Ghazi Khan, Kasur and Sheikhupura in the next financial year.
He told that an engineering university of international standards would be built in Sialkot at the cost of Rs17 billion while there was a proposal in the budget to build 86 colleges in the province. “The budget also envisages a programme under which college teachers would be imparted training so that the standard of education could be improved in colleges,” he disclosed.
And last but not the least, the minister said, funds of Rs83 crore and 40 lakhs had been reserved in the budget for Rehmatulil Alameen Scholarship, which would benefit 15, 000 students.
District Development Programme
The provincial finance minister said that the government was going to start the district development programme worth Rs360 billion. Under the programme, the roads would be constructed and repaired, the education and health facilities would be enhanced and the provision of water would be made sure. He said that the provincial capital would be given Rs28.3 billion for development projects.
He said that Shah Kam Chowk, Ghulab Devi Hospital Underpass and Sheranwala Overhead Bridge were the most important projects in Lahore. He said that keeping in view the water scarcity in Lahore, a sum of Rs500 million had been allocated which would include the installation of a Surface Water Treatment Plant. He said exemplary projects like Ravi Urban Project and Central Business District were being started in Lahore.
He said that Programme for Economic Stimulus & Growth was introduced with the allocation of an amount of Rs10 billion and a relief of Rs50 billion would be given in tax for the fiscal year 2021-22.
He said the Board of Revenue would keep the Stamp duty the same at one percent. He said the relief of Rs40 billion was aimed at welcoming new investment in the field of construction. He said that during the ongoing fiscal year, the sale tax was decreased from 16 percent to 5 percent on more than 25 services and we would keep it the same for the next fiscal year too. These services are included small restaurants, guest houses, marriage halls, tour operators, auditing, agriculture commission gents, treatment of textile and leather, photography, parking services accounting and tax consultancy services, etc. He said 10 more services were being included in this list for the next fiscal year. These services are beauty parlour, fashion designers, home chefs, architects, laundries and dry cleaners, supply of machinery, etc.
He said the government had proposed a 16 percent sale tax on cash payments in restaurants while it has been decreased at 5 percent if the payment was made through credit or debit card as well as by scanning QR codes and using the mobile wallet.
He said that the property tax could be paid in two instalments under the Excise and Taxation Department same as the previous year. He said that the surcharge penalty on property and motor vehicle taxes had been limited to only the last two quarters of the fiscal year. He said the registration fee and token fee had been decreased by 50 percent to 75 percent on electric vehicles in order to overcome the environmental issues.
Development Budget for Industry
The finance minister said that the development budget for the industry had been increased by four times. He said the budget had been increased from Rs3 billion to Rs12 billion. He said for the ongoing projects at industrial zones, an amount of Rs3 billion had been allocated. He said that a small industrial state’s project was being launched in Gujrat with a budget of Rs1.30 billion for the development of the SME sector. He said Surgical City in Sialkot was being launched and Rs1.7 billion had been allocated for this in the next budget. He further said with the cooperation of the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sialkot Tannery was being established with the amount of Rs500 million and an amount of Rs350 million had been allocated in this regard.
Punjab Rozgar Programme
The finance minister said that the government would give loans on easy terms and conditions under the Punjab Rozgar Programme and a sum of Rs10 billion had been allocated for this in the provincial budget 2021-22.
He said the authority was being set up for the regularization of Sahulat bazaars in all major cities of the province and the funds of Rs500 million had been allocated for this.
The minister said that the government was going to start a project of Skilling Youth for Income Generation with the amount of Rs9 billion while the government had allocated Rs17billion for the Improving Workforce Programme. He told the house that a workforce preparation programme was being introduced with the cooperation of the Asian Development Bank which would provide training to 40,000 students.
The finance minister said that the government would carry on with the Urban House Scheme for the next fiscal year. He said a house would cost at Rs1.4million on average. He said that the government had allocated Rs3 billion for infrastructure development. He said that HUD& PHE were being provided funds of Rs1 billion by the provincial government under the New Pakistan House Programme. He said the project would be carried out with the cooperation of the private developers. He said some 35,000 apartments would be constructed under the New Pakistan House Scheme. He said the government of Punjab, with the cooperation of the World Bank, was going to launch a comprehensive project to uplift the backward areas of the province. An amount of Rs86 billion would be spent for this, he added.
He said an amount of Rs4 billion will be spent on the provision of potable water to the citizens, waste management and drainage.
Agriculture and Livestock
The finance minister told the house that the Environment Endowment Fund had been established with the amount of Rs5 billion in order to uplift green technologies. He said that the development budget of the agriculture department had been proposed with an increase of 306 percent from Rs7.75 billion to Rs31.50 billion. An Agriculture Transformation Plan has been included with the spending of Rs100 billion in order to modernize the field of agriculture, he said and added that the Kisaan card had been issued. He said an amount of Rs10 billion had been proposed in the budget to establish a Center for Excellence for the research activities on rice, wheat and sugarcane as well as other crops.
He said that an amount of Rs5 billion has been allocated for the development of livestock and dairy development. He said the government had proposed an allocation of Rs110 million for the development of domestic poultry under the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Tree Tsunami Programme
The provincial finance minister informed the house that the government had proposed an allocation of Rs4 billion to cater the environmental issues. He said that Rs2.56 had been allocated to the Ten Billion Tsunami Programme. He said that Rs1 billion had been allocated to the Wildlife department and almost Rs1 billion for the fisheries department.
Allocation for the Welfare Programmes
Punjab Finance Minister said that the government was on the path to make the country a social welfare state under the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan. He said Sarparat Programme was being launched to help widows and orphans and the government had proposed an allocation of Rs1 billion in this regard. Similarly, he said Musawat Programme was being initiated for the social welfare of transgenders and the government had proposed allocating Rs500 million for this. He said a social protection fund was being established with the amount of Rs500 million. He said the government had allocated Rs12billion for Ehsas Programme last year and for the fiscal year 2021-22, the allocation of funds had been increased at Rs18 billion.
Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht said Rs 16.8 billion had been earmarked for the transport sector during the fiscal year 2021-22.
He said that the provincial government had allocated Rs 16.1 billion for ongoing schemes under which, 15.9 billion would be spent on Mass Transit project while Rs 197 million will be spent in the transport department.
He said Rs 697 million had been earmarked for new schemes of the transport department. The new scheme includes construction of 200 bus stop shelters, including Bus Information and Scheduling System in Lahore.
The minister told the house that the minimum wage had been increased from Rs17,500 to Rs20,000 for the fiscal year 2021-22.