QUETTA: The Balochistan government has postponed the presentation of the provincial budget for the financial year 2023-24 until June 19. The budget was scheduled to be announced on Friday in the provincial assembly.

Governor Malik Abul Wali Khan Kakar late on Thursday convened the budget session of the provincial assembly on June 19.

Sources said that the date for the budget announcement was extended as MPAs and ministers belonging to different political parties had suggested new development schemes and urged the Planning and Development Department to include their schemes in the budget.

“All MPAs from opposition parties, ministers and even coordinators of the chief minister, were making efforts to get maximum share in the last budget of the present coalition government,” a senior official of the Balochistan government told Dawn, adding that despite the instruction of Chief Minister Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo that maximum funds should be allocated for new development schemes, the MPAs and ministers were putting pressure for the allocation of funds for ongoing schemes.

Outlay expected to be over Rs700bn, with around Rs200bn for uplift schemes

The MNAs and Senators from Balochistan also asked for the inclusion of their schemes in the provincial development programme, while the chief minister has already announced that the provincial government lacks sufficient funds to accommodate the development schemes of the MNAs and Senators in the upcoming budget.

The officials of the finance department said that Finance Minister Zamarak Khan Piralizai will present the budget in the assembly on June 19, unless there are further changes to the schedule.

Sources said that it will be a huge deficit budget and the total outlay of the Balochistan budget is expected to be over Rs700 billion, with Rs200bn for uplift schemes.

A significant portion of the budget will be allocated for non-development expenditures, which will be increased due to the provincial government’s decision to raise the salaries of its employees by 30 to 35 per cent. Pension rates will also be increased.

Balochistan will receive Rs450bn as its share under the National Finance Commission award, and its budget will be based on the figures projected in the federal budget.

Sources in the finance department have indicated that there will be a shortfall in the next year’s budget, amounting to three figures, as the target set for generating provincial resources has not been achieved.

Published in Dawn, June 17th, 2023

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