LAHORE: The Punjab government will increase the salaries and pensions in accordance with the raise made by the federal government in the forthcoming budget while the highest ever development budget of over Rs400 billion would be devised in the ongoing tenure of the PTI government in the province.
This was informed in a preparation of the budget for the next financial year meeting presided over by Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakht in Finance Department here on Monday.The meeting was attended by the officials concerned of the finance and other relevant departments.
It was disclosed that the austerity measures adopted by the government would be continued in the next budget as well while the resources saved after austerity measures and cost control had created some financial cushion for the government. Further, the annual development programme in the budget for the next financial year will be so far the largest development budget of the PTI government.
During the meeting, the finance minister stated that the next financial year would be the year of economic growth while special development package would be given to the backward districts to balance the development process in the province.
He said that the investment in local bodies, roads, public health and irrigation system would be made to ensure economic growth. Provision of infrastructure, technical and vocational training for the promotion of industrialisation will ensure.
The minister observed that modern research and expansion in the agricultural sector would be part of the top priorities of the next budget. Significant increase in the development budget will be ensured to achieve economic growth. He instructed ensuring the preparation of joint database to increase the personal resources of the province, uniformity in tax rates and implementation of fully automated system for revenue collection.
The provincial minister informed the meeting that in view of the current situation in COVID-19, the Punjab government was reviewing the tax relief given in the current financial year for revival of business in the next financial year. However, the government will emphasise on expanding the tax net to increase resources. The tax collected from the agriculture sector will be used for the development of the sector.
The Punjab government will ensure the provision of special funds for industrial development. The government is also investing in a scheme to provide affordable housing to low-income citizens. Universal health insurance and school upgrades in the education and health sectors have been approved.