LAHORE: Punjab Assembly (PA) Opposition Leader Mian Mahmoodur Rashid has issued what he called a “white paper” on the financial mismanagement and bad governance of the PML-N government, which has now been in power in Punjab Province for over six years.
Sharing details of the paper with the press in his chamber on Tuesday, the opposition leader said that the Punjab government was taking $350 million fresh loan from the Asian Development Bank and $35 million from the International Fund for Agricultural Development but that its massive financial mismanagement and bad governance had taken the province back to a position where it was 10 years ago.
He said that the province was under a heavy burden of Rs 452 billion loans and to top that burden, the government has further applied for loans amounting to $385 million.
The existing loans and the new ones would add to the miseries of the province while paying off the principal amount of these loans as well as mark-up, he said.
Rashid said that from 2008, Punjab was getting an additional Rs 100 billion apart from what it was getting under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award. He said that the additional Rs 100 billion had not helped the province at all and the financial condition of the province was rather getting worse with every passing day.
The government kept on taking loans, he said, adding that each year a deficit budget was presented that proved that the financial conditions of the province were getting from bad to worse.
The PTI leader said that if the government could generate Rs 100 billon funds on its own for Metro Bus Projects in three cities of the province then why could it not generate funds from its own resources to improve the declining living standard of the people.
He said that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had promised while assuming charge of the province six years ago that he would not rely on foreign loans and would not leave a legacy of loans for the next generations but the amount of loans his government had taken and continues to take had mortgaged the income of our several next generations.
“No matter how soft the terms of repaying the loans are and does not matter how long the duration period of repaying the loans is but the fact is that several next generation will have to live under heavy burden of loans and the responsibility of these loans will be on the shoulders of the present government,” he added.
He said that the provincial government was following in the footsteps of the federal government, which was also taking massive loans and that the whole nation would have to suffer for their blunders.
He said that the provincial government does not want to learn from the blunders it has committed in the past and continues to invest and waste money on useless and failed projects like Yellow Cab scheme, Ashiyana housing scheme, sasti roti, food support programme, laptop scheme, green tractor scheme, mobile health units, solar lamp and Daanish schools etc when it has already wasted over Rs 100 billion on such useless projects.
“How have these projects improved the living standard of the people and how have education and health sectors improved due to these projects?” he asked.
“How much has the inflation been lowered and how many employment chances have these projects created?” he further asked.
“Had these funds been used to improve the agriculture sector, industrial growth and power generation the province would have registered improvement in the living standard of the people,” he said, adding that we would not have been compelled to import potatoes, fruits and other vegetables had the provincial funds been utilised in a better and sane manner.
The opposition leader went on to say that the provincial government has failed to introduce reforms for the betterment of the people and that corruption and tax evasion has been flourishing and there are no checks and balances in place to put the lid on all these social ills.
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