PaK govt presents Rs 49.59 bn deficit budget
Muzaffarabad, June 20: Pakistan administered Kashmir's Rs 49.59 billion deficit budget for fiscal year 2012-13 was presented before the Legislative Assembly here on Wednesday amid boycott of the proceedings by the entire opposition which accused the government of disregarding its mandate.
Termed by Finance Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Ashraf as “balanced and people friendly document,” the budget proposed Rs 40.05 billion for recurring, earlier referred to as non-developmental, expenditures and Rs 9.547 billion – 19 percent of total budget - for developmental activities.
As the proceedings started, PML-N lawmaker Chaudhry Tariq Farooq alleged, on a point of order, that the government was blatantly disregarding opposition’s mandate by preferring ruling Peoples Party workers in their constituencies over elected lawmakers.
He was seconded by the leader of the opposition and PML-N PaK chapter president Raja Farooq Haider as well as Muslim Conference lawmaker Malik Muhammad Nawaz.
In the meanwhile, speaker Sardar Ghulam Sadiq gave floor to the finance minister. As the minister began his speech, almost all opposition members stood on their seats and started chanting anti-PPP slogans.
Saying that they could not become part of such proceedings, the opposition members staged a walkout and did not return to the house notwithstanding persuasion by some treasury members.
He also listed what he called some guiding principles decided by the government during the preparation of the budget.
“The basic obligation of this government is to struggle for liberation of Kashmir. We make a pledge that Kashmir issue will be highlighted across the globe and not only political, moral and diplomatic support to the struggling Kashmiris will be continued but our blood will also be part of their sacrifices,” he said.
Apart from that, PaK would be converted into a modern welfare state by stopping the wastage of its national resources and enforcing financial discipline, he added, but stopped short of outlining specific measures to achieve this goal, including enforcement of much needed austerity drive.
Regarding the estimated income during 2012-13, the minister informed the house that Rs 15.31 billion would be generated from PaK’s internal resources, such as excise duties, electricity etc, Rs 840 million from water use charges of Mangla Dam, Rs 7.4 billion as (80 per cent share of the) taxes generated from the PaK territory by the PaK Council manned Income Tax Department Rs 11.4 billion as PaK’s share in federal taxes.
The difference (deficit) of Rs 5.1 billion between the income and recurring expenditures (Rs 40.05 billion) would be met by the central government, he said.
The finance minister also announced on the occasion that the government would also give 20 per cent salary raise to its employees on the pattern of the federal government. The employees of food department, secretaries of union councils as well as patwaris and girdawars of revenue department would be given higher scales on the pattern of Punjab. Similarly, he added, electricity department employees would also be given privileges at par with their counterparts in Wapda.
However, as none of these announcements were reflected in the proposed recurring budget, experts believed that the deficit would rise eventually.
Interestingly, in the current financial year, the estimated income was Rs 31.205 billion, with Rs 5.06 billion as revenue deficit. However, the revised estimates, which were also presented by the minister, showed a shortfall of Rs 2 billion in the projected income, thus swelling the current year’s deficit to Rs 7.06 billion. There were strong apprehensions that by the end of the current year, revenue receipts could see a further contraction.
The minister said the federal government had also decided, in principle, to give a “bailout package” to PaK to "help us combat the situation in the wake of cuts on our development budget as well as our indispensable requirements."
Regarding the reconstruction in earthquake affected areas, he said that over Rs 32 billion were required in PaK in the current year but Erra had got Rs 10 billion from the federal government of which Rs 2.571 billion were released to PaK. However, the minister did not say as to how much amount Erra was going to spend in PaK in next fiscal year.
Later, the session was prorogued to meet again on Monday (June 25) to initiate debate on budget.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 21 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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