NWFP PA passes budget
By Ghafar Ali
PESHAWAR: The NWFP Assembly on Monday passed the provincial budget for 2005-06 with a total outlay of Rs 86 billion while adopting the Finance Bill 2005 with amendments moved by the finance minister.
The assembly resumed its session after a two-day break with Speaker Bakht Jehan Khan in the chair. NWFP Finance Minister Sirajul Haq moved amendments to clause one to five of the Finance Bill 2005. He tabled an authenticated schedule of expenditures for 2005-06 under Article 123 of the Constitution.
The house approved 53 demands for grants forwarded by various government departments while demand for grants by the police department was put to vote after mover of the cut motion, Attiqur Rehman, insisted on it.
The house entertained cut motions on five demands for grants regarding general administration; finance; planning and development; local fund audit, and education whereas the remaining 48 demands for grants were passed by voice vote due to shortage of time.
Speaking on demand for grants regarding finance, treasury and local fund audit, Senior Minister Sirajul Haq informed the house that he had instructed the finance secretary to ensure timely release of funds so that development process, especially in education and health sectors did not suffer.
The senior minister said that strict action would be taken against department officials found taking commission from any person. The finance minister told the house that an increase in government employees’ salaries put an additional burden of Rs 5 billion on the provincial exchequer that included Rs 2,240 million increase in salary head, Rs 1820 million in house rent and Rs 603 million in medical allowance.
Anwar Kamal Khan Marwat of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N); Bashir Ahmed Bilour of the Awami National Party (ANP); and Sikandar Hayat Khan Sherpao of Pakistan People’s Party-Sherpao and Abdul Akbar Khan of the Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) in their cut motion expressed their dissatisfaction over the performance of the Finance Department.
They complained that the development programme suffered due to late releases of funds by the Finance Department. They said that officials in the department did not release funds without taking commission, adding that pensioners were no exceptions.
Speaking on a demand for grants regarding planning and development, Sirajul Haq informed the house that construction of important roads would be completed in three months.
About reservations made by opposition members over bloc allocations and a concept of umbrella projects, the finance minister told the house that the World Bank objected over an increase in the number of development schemes and therefore the provincial government decided to go for bloc allocations in health and education sectors.