LAHORE: The country is passing through a critical period following the Covid-19 pandemic and the provincial government given the best budget in the current scenario by focusing towards the areas hit by the coronavirus and protecting the economy and vulnerable groups.
The Punjab government did not compromise on the development portfolio despite witnessing reduction in the revenue while Public Private Partnership Authority was established for implementation of the PPP projects.
The southern loop of the Lahore Ring Road will be completed under PPP project with Rs10 billion in the fiscal year 2020-21while the PPP projects were given a five year tax holiday as well.
This was stated by Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakhat Tuesday while addressing the Post Budget Press Conference here at 90 Shahrah-e-Quaid-Azam along with Chairman Planning and Development Hamid Yaqoob Sheikh, and Secretary Finance Abdullah Sumbal, he said the government given Rs 56 billion tax relief package in the budget, besides given priority to construction sector to boost 16 attached industries with it.
The minister announced that a new project Paradigm was introduced in the budget with the name Grow Punjab and a Rs 106 billion package allocated to cope up with covid-19 under this head.
The project will be helpful in improving the health sector, besides controlling the covid-19. The government will review the expenditure on a monthly basis due to covid-19 pandemic while all the recommendations would be considered the additional expenditures to control the covid-19 pandemic. He said the government did not launch the new projects for the sake of making the budget speech attractive, rather to focus on completing last year announced 6 universities and 9 hospitals. So the government has made substantial increases in the health and education budget.
Hashim Jawwan said that the government also introduced small projects of community development including tree plantation, roads and canals linings and others in order to create employment opportunities for the lower segment of the society. He said the Punjab government likewise the federal government also lowers down the revenue generation targets while the scope of the foreign funded and assisted projects was increased to meet the gap. Further, expanding the taxpayer base was focused on the budget.
On a question, the minister said the government allocated Rs 9 billion for the Orange Line Metro Train (OLMT) project, out of which Rs 4 billion allocated for subsidy and 4.5 billion for the payment of mark-up of the project loan. The minister stressed the OLMT, a white elephant for which the government will need billions of rupees subsidy every year.