Balochistan govt presents Rs419.9bn budget amid opposition uproar

Updated June 19, 2019

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Balochistan Finance Minister Zahoor Buledi will announce the provincial budget for the upcoming fiscal year. ─ Online/File
Balochistan Finance Minister Zahoor Buledi will announce the provincial budget for the upcoming fiscal year. ─ Online/File

The Balochistan government on Wednesday announced a Rs419.92 billion budget with a Rs41.71bn deficit amid chaos in the provincial assembly.

The session was delayed for over two hours as opposition members protested over not receiving copies of the provincial budget document in a timely manner. MPAs belonging to the BNP-M, JUI-F, and the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) staged a protest to vent their anger, and photographs of the assembly following the protest showed the floor littered with tattered copies of the budget.

Opposition Leader in the Balochistan Assembly Advocate Malik Sikandar complained there was "no sign of progress in the province", while former chief minister Nawab Aslam Raisani described the budget to reporters outside the assembly as an "anti-masses budget".

BNP-M lawmaker Sanaullah Baloch expressed concern that the "rulers have failed to address key concerns of the masses in the budget".

Key features of proposed budget:

  • Size of budget: Rs419.92bn
  • Total current expenditure: Rs293.58bn
  • Total provincial Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP): Rs100.57bn
  • Federal-funded projects outside PSDP: Rs18.2bn
  • Foreign project assistance: Rs7.56bn
  • Total revenue: Rs372.213bn
  • Total deficit: Rs41.71bn

The provincial government in its latest budget proposed increasing expenditure in multiple social sectors, including education (10 per cent increase), health (26pc), social protection (468pc), and law and order (11.7pc), according to a document obtained by DawnNewsTV.

Key social welfare expenditures in the FY2019-20 budget include:

  • Education: Rs58.14bn
  • Health: Rs26.04bn
  • Social protection: Rs5.6bn
  • Law and order: Rs38.59bn
  • Salaries: Rs151.3bn
  • Pensions: Rs33.78bn

Highlights of the budget note that investments will be increased by 55pc from Rs10bn to Rs15.5bn in the coming fiscal. Additionally, reform initiatives are underway for tax policy, debt management, risk assessment and investment management.

The health budget will also be decentralised from a provincial level to rural health centers, the document said, adding that the budget will also allocate funds for the establishment of universities and campuses for the first time.