Salman Khan
Salman Khan

QUETTA: The Balochistan government presented a deficit budget for the next fiscal year on Tuesday with a total outlay of Rs612.79 billion.

With the provincial income estimated at Rs540bn, the deficit would stand at Rs72.8bn, or around 12 per cent of the outlay. The budget sets aside 5.7pc and 3.7pc higher allocations for non-development and development heads, respectively, compared to the original estimates for the outgoing fiscal year.

In the budget for the outgoing year, the provincial government indicated a deficit of Rs84.7bn in its estimated resources and expenditure, which is projected to curtail the originally allocated provincial contribution to the development plan from Rs172.5bn to Rs91.8bn by the close of the year on June 30.

Thus, it is safe to assume that the failure to take in enough resources to fill the projected deficit, the province is likely to end up cutting its development stimulus by a huge margin next year as well.

Balochistan Finance Minister Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran presented the budget without facing any shouting from opposition members, who listened to the budget speech quietly and also thumbed desks on various occasions along with treasury benches during the budget speech.

The budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 was to be presented before the provincial assembly on Monday but was postponed at the eleventh hour as the treasury and opposition benches couldn’t agree on the size of the provincial development programme. The budget session, scheduled for 4pm on Tuesday, was delayed for more than three hours.

Huge bundles of budget documents were provided to MPAs without budget speech and the PSDP book. Some members pointed out that they had not received copies of the documents, on which the finance minister informed them that both the documents were under printing.

In his budget speech, Finance Minister Khetran said the government during the current fiscal year had released Rs92bn for development projects to complete ongoing and new schemes.

The new budget sets aside Rs26.62bn non-development funds for the health sector while Rs12bn would be spent on development. Besides, Rs1.5bn has been allocated for the pension and support fund, Rs6.6bn has been allocated for providing medicines in all hospitals of the province and 524 new posts would be created in the health sector.

He announced that the government had decided to increase the salaries of the government employees by 15pc on their basic salaries as of 2017, besides increasing pension by 15pc.

As for education, 103 new primary schools would be established while 60 high, middle schools would be upgraded to higher secondary schools and 831 new posts of teachers would be created.

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2022

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