News Column

Balochistan govt unveils Rs215bn budget for 2014-15

June 20, 2014



With an aim to improve key social indicators, the Balochistan government claims to have given top priority to the education and health sectors in the financial budget for the year 201415.

Finance adviser to the Balochistan chief minister, Mir Khalid Langove on Thursday evening presented the deficit budget with a total volume of over Rs215billion as compared to Rs198.395bn total outlay for last year's budget.

Langove said the government has decided to establish two universities and 14 new colleges, and upgrade 200 primary schools to middle schools to impart quality education to students. "The government has allocated a substantial amount for repair of impoverished schools across the province," said Langove. He said that a cadet college would be established at the Chaman border-town at the cost of Rs1 bn. Universities would be established at Gwadar, Turbat and Loralai areas to ensure access to higher education to students in their own areas, he said.

Regarding the health sector, Langove said that 70 vaccination centres would be set up across the province and Rs1bn was allocated for the purchase of equipment for government-run hospitals.

Similarly, Rs1.24 bn have been allocated for the provision of free medicine to patients across Balochistan. "Now Balochistan can be called a polio-free province," Langove said while referring to poliovirus.

With regard to law and order, he told the house that 27 per cent budget for law and order was increased and that the government had decided to impart modern training to police.

He said the government had allocated more than RS17bn for law and order, up from Rs16 bn. Similarly, the coalition government has also decided to increase compensation for the victims of terrorism from Rs2 million to Rs4 million. For the promotion of the agriculture sector, he said Rs6.35 million was allocated whereas Rs3 bn was allocated for the purchase of 200 new bulldozers.

In an effort to improve governance, the government has also banned the purchase of luxury vehicles as well as visits of legislators and bureaucrats to foreign countries through government funds. Despite financial constraints, the government claims it has increased the non-development expenditures from Rs154 bn to Rs164 bn.

However, the government increased the funds for the public sector development programme from last year's Rs43.913 bn to Rs50.742 bn this year.

Last year's infighting among the coalition partners over attractive portfolios caused a six-month delay in the formation of the cabinet in Balochistan.

The provincial government could not complete the development projects owing to delayed formation of the cabinet. "Government could not use more than Rs2 bn for development projects," a wellplaced source in the Balochistan government said.

Moreover, Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Malik Baloch told Dawn.com that the funds would not lapse and a mechanism was prepared to re-use it upon completion of ongoing projects. The government also increased the salaries and pensions of government employees by 10pc.


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Source: National Herald Tribune (Pakistan)


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