LAHORE: Punjab is set to propose the highest-ever Annual Development Programme (ADP) in its annual budget for the 2022-23 fiscal scheduled to be tabled in the provincial assembly on Monday (tomorrow).

“I cannot confirm you the exact size of the ADP right now as it will go public after an approval by the provincial cabinet ahead of the budget session. However, its total outlay will be in between Rs650 to Rs700 billion,” a senior official very much part of the budget-making process told Dawn on Saturday.

He said the allocations for the health, education and other vital sectors would be more than the 2021-22 fiscal.

According to another official source, the ADP included massive allocation for several ongoing and new development schemes in Lahore and other major and small cities/towns of the province.

Over Rs30 billion allocation was expected for the development schemes of the local government & community development department under the next year ADP.

He said the total outlay of the annual budget was likely to be between Rs2.5 to Rs3 trillion (Rs2500 to 3,000 billion).

The PTI-led Punjab government had, in its annual budget 2021-22, approved allocation of Rs560 billion for ADP that was later increased to Rs640 billion.

As of April 22, the Punjab crossed the figure of Rs400 billion utilisation of the total amount released under the ongoing ADP, expecting total utilisation of Rs550bn by June 30, the last day of the ongoing financial year. For May and June, the ADP’s utilisation target was fixed at Rs83bn and 60bn, respectively. However, it is yet to be achieved.

Till March 31, the total utilisation reached Rs362bn of the Rs500bn released out of the revised Rs640bn allocation for the 2021-22 ADP. The Rs362bn included Rs9bn utilised for the development projects approved under the public-private partnership. Earlier, the Punjab government utilised over Rs300bn, spending 66pc of the Rs458bn released out of the total allocation till Feb 28 under the ADP. But the ADP utilisation data for the month of May and June is yet to be released by the government.

“The focus of our budget for 2022-23 is to provide relief to the common man in the present difficult economic situation and to bring essential edible prices within the reach of poor people,” Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz Sharif said while presiding over a meeting on the budget on Saturday.

He further said the PML-N government was adopting out-of-box approach to give relief to the people. He was of the view that no burden should be put on the poor people in the upcoming budget and further steps should be taken to lessen difficulties of the common man.

“The country is passing through an economic turmoil and we are making our utmost efforts to divert the prevailing situation towards betterment. We are also devising a comprehensive plan to provide relief to the masses facing price-hike agony,” he maintained.

The CM sought effective measures in the budget in order to control inflation. “The historic relief package to provide subsidised flour across the province will continue in the next fiscal year,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2022

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