Pre-budget debate in PA : ‘Ongoing projects will be completed during next FY’

* Finance minister confirms release of all funds required for completion of schemes

LAHORE: Punjab Finance Minister Mujtaba Shuja has confirmed to include – and vowed to complete – all the projects announced by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in next budget for fiscal year 2014-15, and releasing all required funds in this regard.
He gave this statement in the House of the Punjab Assembly during Monday’s session while delivering his opening speech in the pre-budget debate. 
The debate will continue for the next four days in which legislators will give suggestions on different development project and economic policies.
Addressing the House, the finance minister told the treasury and the opposition members that his government would welcome the positive criticism of the projects and consider the suggested development projects as well.
He informed the House that the Punjab chief minister had cut around 15 percent of his administrative expenditures, as per announcement made by him in the last budget for fiscal year 2013-14.
The minister said that the financial situation of the province had improved due to better policies of his government, and such policies would continue in the years to come. 
He told the House said that collection of the provincial revenue had also been increased.
Mujtaba said that his government was spending a huge amount on the maintenance of law and order, while attention was also being paid to overcoming the energy crisis in the province. He said that for the purpose, a solar power project of 100 megawatts was being started soon in Cholistan, southern Punjab.
The finance minister also announced that funds for all the development schemes – on which 70 percent of the work had been completed – would be provided in the next budget 2014-15, and that the projects would be completed during the next fiscal year.
He also gave a signal to his colleagues (assembly members) that they should suggest to the government some provincial-level development projects rather than constituency-level projects.
The Punjab Assembly’s session on Monday started one hour and five minutes late from its scheduled time of 3pm under the chair of Deputy Speaker Sher Ali Gorchani. After reciting verses from the holy Quran and the naat, the House adopted the question hour about Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries Department. 
Provincial Minister Malik Asif Bha answered to the queries of the members.
Opposition Leader in the House Mian Mehmoodur Rasheed on a point of order highlighted the issue of southern Punjab and said that though the PML-N government had constituted a committee on the creation of a new province, it did not accommodate any opposition members in it.
He urged the government that it should include in the committee the opposition members elected from southern Punjab, like Sardar Shahabuddin and Dr Waseem Akhtar.
During the session, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah Khan also presented the inquiry report about the Muzaffargarh incident, and termed the police officials – including the DPO, DSP, SHO and ASI – “guilty”.
He assured the House that his government would give exemplary punishment to these officials on their criminal negligence in the case.
On a call attention notice from treasury member Jamal Leghari about the gangster Zanglani of Tumman Gang in Dera Ghazi Khan, the law minister informed the House that the police were planning to raid them with the assistance of Rangers, and that an air strike could also be carried out in this regard. However, he refused to accept the claim of the member that kidnapped women were in the custody of the gang members. The Punjab Assembly session will continue today (Tuesday).

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