Punjab Assembly concludes general discussion on Budget 2017-18

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LAHORE, June 9 (APP): Provincial Finance Minister Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha
told Punjab Assembly on Friday the Punjab budget for fiscal year 2017-18 was a
significant step towards attaining goals set under Punjab Growth Strategy.
Winding-up general discussion on annual budget 2017-18 during the PA
session here, she said, “The budget addressed public wishes as it has been designed
after intensive consultations with peoples’ elected representatives.”
Finance Minister said, all positive financial indicators proved that
Punjab government was implementing the best economic strategy and the province was
on way to speedy progress.
She said, as the government was giving significance to health,
education, energy, agriculture sectors, it had made hefty allocations for these important
sectors.
Talking about the measures taken in health sector, the Finance Minister
told the House that the Basic and Rural Health Centres were being strengthened to
ensure best possible healthcare facilities to people at their doorstep.
In the next financial year, she said, additional Rs 55 billion would be
spent on health sector and all the THQ hospitals would be modernised and 100 mobile
health units would also be procured for easy access of people to healthcare facilities. She
said, 2000 new beds would be placed in all major hospitals of the province and Rs 400
million would be spent to end shortage of ventilators, while Rs 16 billion had been
earmarked for life-saving drugs.
Finance Minister said promotion of education was government’s top
priority and concrete measures in this regard had already been lauded by the World
Bank.
Responding to the concerns of Opposition Leader during general
discussion on budget 2017-18, she said that government under a well-thought policy,
had handed over management control of low performing schools running under
education department.
Dr Ayesha Ghous Pasha said Punjab government was following a detailed
and comprehensive agriculture policy aimed at attaining short and long-term goals. She
said, the new financial year would be a year of development for agriculture sector and it
would flourish more in days to come. She said, a record wheat production had been
achieved this year only because of successful government’s steps and farmers’ friendly
policies.
Finance Minister said the serious measures taken by the PML-N government
had enhanced the sense of safety of their lives and properties among the people and a
huge amount of Rs 145 billion had been allocated for this sector. “Safe cities project is
being being extended to six major cities,” she added.
She said, Clean Drinking Water was government’s another revolutionary
project and a sum of Rs 25 billion would be spent on completion of potable water supply
schemes especially in Souther Punjab. Overall, she said, Rs 75 billion had been set aside
in the annual budget 2017-18 for water supply and sanitation schemes across the
province.
Finance Minister told the House that owing to tireless efforts, several
new power plants had been accomplished and a total of 5,000 MW would be added to
the national grid by end this year. Completion of these projects,
she said, would balance electricity demand and supply.
On the objections by Opposition members regarding budget allocation for
police, she said, financial resources would be exploited to change Thana Culture,
reforms in investigation and prosecution, latest weaponry and training.
Earlier, the sixth sitting of the 30th session of current assembly
started an hour and 46 minutes behind its scheduled time with Deputy Speaker Sardar
Sher Ali Gorchani in the chair.
Today, presence of the treasury members in the House was noticeable as
the Chief Minister Punjab Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif was present during concluding
speech of the Finance Minister.
Provincial Ministers Rana Sanaullah Khan, Malik Nadeem Kamran, Chaudhry
Sher Ali, Manshaullah Butt, Malik Tanvir Aslam, Rana Mashhood Ahmed Khan, Begum
Zakia Shahnawaz were amongst others present in the House.
The Punjab Assembly began the consideration of the Demands for Grants
2017-18 and discussed the grant worth Rs 40.7 billion demanded for education sector.
On completion of day’s agenda, the chair adjourned the session till
Monday at 11 am.