Balochistan govt unveils Rs 215bn deficit budget

QUETTA: The Balochistan government on Thursday unveiled a Rs 215 billion deficit budget, of which minimum details were available, as the budget documents were denied to the media.
The media reported the provincial budget from the speech of the Adviser to the Chief Minister on Finance Mir Khalid Langov. The fiscal deficit during the next year will be around Rs 15.6 billion as compared to Rs 8 billion during the current fiscal year. The development outlay had been increased to Rs 50.74 billion, as the provincial government had failed to utilise the funds available for development during the outgoing fiscal year. Donors’ contribution to the development of Balochistan will be around Rs 2.7 billion during the next fiscal year. 
The provincial government had spent Rs 5 billion less on development, according to the speech of the adviser on finance. There is no explanation why Rs 5 billion could not be utilised during the whole year. Independent economists believe that the government will drastically cut the non-development expenditure during the current fiscal year but they were disappointed as the allocation for non-development expenditures had been increased from Rs 154 billion to Rs 164 billion for the next fiscal year. 
Saindak Project had raised the hopes for increase in the provincial revenue, with additional royalty transfer from the federal government to the provincial government. Talks are underway between the federal and provincial governments for complete transfer of Saindak Project to Balochistan, including its revenue, both royalty and federal taxes. Extracts from the speech of the adviser to chief minister on finance, as reported by the media and unsupported by budget documents, go as follows. 
The government has earmarked Rs 50.742 billion rupees for Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) while Rs 164.97 have been allocated for non-development expenditures. The province would receive Rs 141.213 billion from divisible pool during the fiscal year, Rs 16.858 billion from direct transfers, Rs 10 billion from other receipts, Rs 23.279 billion from capital receipts and would earn an income revenue of Rs 8.970 billion from its own resources. 
“Total income is estimated at Rs 200.051 billion and deficit Rs 15.662 billion,” the finance adviser said. Langov said that the government would create as many as 3,925 new jobs in different government departments and would spend Rs 1,7251.118 million rupees on law and order. “Our government has earmarked Rs 17,251.118 million for police, Balochistan Constabulary, Levies Force and other departments for maintenance of law and order,” he said.
Education remained a priority with the provincial government like the previous year. Langrov informed the House that Rs 5 billion have been set aside for establishing Balochistan Education Endowment Company, Rs 324.884 million for provision of facilities to schools and colleges and Rs 400 million for provision of furniture and scientific equipments to schools. 

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