LAHORE: The Government of Punjab is going to pass estimated Rs. 1.2 trillion budget for the fiscal year 2015-16 today (Friday), over Rs. 400 billion will be set aside for development projects.
Dr. Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, the first ever woman finance minister, will present the Provincial Budget 2015-16 in Punjab Assembly today. It is likely to be a deficit budget. Share of Rs. 895 billion from the federal divisible tax revenue pool has been already allocated for the Punjab under the National Finance Commission (NFC) award. It is expected that the provincial tax revenue target will be Rs. 180 – Rs. 190 billion from Rs. 164 billion of the outgoing year.
This budget will be the eighth consecutive budget of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s provincial government.
Talking to the media about provincial budget, Punjab government official stated that government is focusing on development project and a mega share of Rs. 400 billion likely to be allocated for mega infrastructural and development projects includes: roads, transports, energy sector, Orange Metro Line for Lahore, Southern Loop of Ring Road, LNG-based power project, Metro Bus project for Multan, and Farm to Market roads project.
Moreover, government would impose 2% Capital Value Tax (CVT) on the rural immoveable property worth over Rs. 1 million and increase professional tax rate from 10% to 75%. Revenue targets will be generated from: Rs. 110 billion from GST on services; Rs. 2 billion agriculture income tax; Rs. 2 billion from miscellaneous registration, Rs. 12 billion land revenue, and Rs. 20 billion from stamps duties.
Rs. 400 billion will be spent on the development project in which 36% are for the development projects in Southern Punjab.
This year more taxes will be imposed by the government in case of raise in GST on services. The officials claimed that the budget will be in accordance with the Punjab Growth Strategy 2015-18 unveiled last month. Government’s strategy is to achieve 8% growth in next three years, creating 4 million jobs in the province.
According to economists and experts, reality is different from what government is claiming about growth and development in the province. Talking to the media the professor of Lahore University if Management Sciences (LUMS) told, “It will be impossible to almost double the economic growth rate of the province in the absence of private investment. Even the public development investment has declined in real terms during the present financial year as more than half of the funds allocated for annual development programme remained unused during the first 10 months till April.”