PA winds up pre-budget debate

* Finance minister denies usage of extra funds on Chief Minister’s Secretariat
AFP

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly’s 15-days-long session prorogued on Friday for an indefinite time period after the completion of the pre-budget discussion and collection of suggestions from the legislators to introduce these in the next provincial budget.
Delivering the winding-up speech, Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman disapproved all the claims of the opposition about usage of extra funds on CM Secretariat, saying that his government had made a cut of 30 percent on its expenditures as per commitment. Giving thanks to the participants of the discussion, he ensured the legislators that their view, suggestions and proposals would be considered to accommodate in the upcoming budget. 
He also rebuts this perception coined by some MPAs in their speeches that the budget was ever prepared by the bureaucracy and there was no share of the lawmakers. He told the House that his government had ended some extra job overcoming the non-development expenditures of the chief minister secretariat and had also made 30 percent cut in these expenses while overall 15 percent non development expenditures of all departments had been cut this fiscal year. 
He informed the House that his government had spent only Rs 6.8 billion rupees on the Laptop Scheme during last two budgets from 2011-12 and 2012-13 and the claim of the opposition was wrong that they had spent more than Rs 17 billion distributing 2,10,000 units among the students. Finance Minister said that his government had released funds of Rs 487 million for the construction of Wazirabad Cardiology Institute while 60 new model police stations were under construction to maintain law and order situation in the province. While, he said that two building for anti-terror department was being constructed here.
He said that his government would transfer 20,000 tube wells on the biogas and would also install 1480 plants with the amount of Rs 12 billion for providing clean drinking water to the people of Punjab. He informed that Rs 7 billion have been released for covering missing facilities in educational institutes. He told the House that some supplementary grants for CM Secretariat were taken this year for the purpose of only facilitating the international delegations especially from China and Turkey during their visit here.
Earlier, legislators including Sheikh Alludin, Rahila Anwar, Khuram Shehzad, Sardar Ahmad Dareshak, Ali Asghar Manda, Rashida Yaqoob, Ahmad Khan, Nabeera Andaleeb, shehzad Munshi and Hina pervez Butt also participated in the discussion and suggested the government on different fields. Mostly the members highlighted the issues of law and order situation in the province and suggested the government to work on it while the problems of drinking water, agriculture, electricity, awkward road, and Metro Bus Service projects also come under discussion.
Punjab Assembly session on Friday started one hour 10 minutes late to its schedule time at 9am under the chair of deputy speaker Sher Ali and after reciting holy Quran and the Naat, the house adopted the question our about Planning and Development Department and concerned parliamentary secretary answered queries. During the session, when the deputy speaker did not allow a treasury member Tahir Sindhu to speak on a point of order, he strongly criticized the role of the chair and said that he would ever continue his opposition to any such attitude of bulldozing the assembly rules and regulations.
Pertinent to mention here that some other members from the opposition as well as the treasury like Arif Abasi, Sheikh Allaudin and Mian Rafiq also showed their resentment against the attitude of the chair for not to giving the floor. Arif Abasi of PTI also held a token walk-out from the House in protest. 

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