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Development budget cut to pay pensions, says adviser

May 16, 2018

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QUETTA: Adiviser to the Chief Minister on Finance Dr Ruqayya Saeed Hashmi addresses post-budget press conference 
on Tuesday.—PPI
QUETTA: Adiviser to the Chief Minister on Finance Dr Ruqayya Saeed Hashmi addresses post-budget press conference on Tuesday.—PPI

QUETTA: Adviser to the Chief Minister on Finance Dr Ruqayya Saeed Hashmi has said the Balochistan government is facing a massive financial burden due to increasing amount of pension and the situation has forced the finance department to reduce development budget by Rs10 billion to clear pension bills.

Speaking at her post-budget press conference here on Tuesday with provincial Finance Secretary Qamar Masood and Mr Shahzeb, a senior official of the Planning and Development Department, she said the pension bill was increasing with the passage of time.

Mr Masood said the finance department was working on a plan to invest sizable money in the financial institutions for the payment of pensions to retired government employees.

“Recruitment of employees on a contract basis can be considered to resolve the issue of increasing pension bills,” the finance secretary said, adding that time-scale and upgradation surcharges also affected the annual budget as allocations for them had risen to 10 per cent of non-development expenditures.

“As education is our top priority, Rs12bn has been allocated to revamp educational structure in Balochistan and the allocation for law and order has risen by 10pc,” Ms Hashmi said.

“Balochistan is not an overdraft province. Though we have presented deficit budget, after the Balochistan Revenue Authority starts working, our tax revenue will rise to Rs11bn,” the adviser said.

In view of intensifying water shortage in Quetta, the provincial government had allocated a generous amount for building dams, she said.

Construction of Mangi dam at a cost of Rs9bn was under way and after completion it would provide one million gallons of drinking water to the city on a daily basis, she added.

“To maintain law and order, the provincial government has allocated Rs1.5bn for the Frontier Corps and Pakistan Army, with a Rs700m extra grant to equip police and Levies with modern facilities,” Ms Hashmi said.

Replying to a question, the finance secretary said throw-forward of ongoing development projects had reached Rs288bn as some of the ongoing projects had been initiated in 2004.

Ms Hashmi said the government was adopting measures to reduce deficit of the current budget as efforts were being made to increase provincial resources and resources from the federal government would also help in this regard.

She said that allocation for the provincial Public Sector Development Programme ­— Rs88.3bn — was seven per cent higher than the previous year, whereas Rs264bn had been allocated for non-development expenditures.

Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2018