More promises for Balochistan in FY 15-16 budget

  • With Rs 26b deficit in Rs 243b budget, Rs 54b allocated for ADP, Rs 38b for education, Rs 15b for health, Rs 14b for energy sectors
  • Salaries, pensions go up by 7.5pc, PhD, MPhil allowance increased as budget promises 5,000 vacancies and Gwadar Airport with Centre’s help.
  • Opposition rejects budget, boycotts assembly session, decry ‘discrimination’, terming the budget ‘anti-masses’

Amidst boycott by opposition members in the provincial assembly in Quetta, Balochistan Chief Minister’s Finance Adviser Mir Khalid Khan Langove on Wednesday presented Balochistan’s Rs 243 billion budget for the next fiscal year with a deficit amounting to Rs 26 billion.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Langove said Rs 189 billion have been allocated for non-development expenditures in the budget while Rs 54 billion have been earmarked for development projects.

“The nationalists-led coalition government has given priority to education and health sectors. A total of Rs 38 billion has been allocated to the education sector whereas Rs 15 billion has been earmarked for the health sector,” he said, adding that most of the funds allocated to these sectors in the past had been spent on the salaries of teachers, doctors and paramedics as opposed to sectoral development.

Despite the deficit budget, the volume of non-development expenditures has been increased by the provincial government while it has also decided to increase the salaries and pension of government employees by 7.5 percent, the advisor said, adding that Rs 14.33 billion will be spent on the energy sector while over Rs 1.11 billion have been set aside for the generation of commerce and industries in the province.

About 5,000 vacancies will be generated in the new budget, Langove highlighted, adding that a new Gwadar International Airport would be constructed with the federal government’s help.

The PhD allowance has been increased from Rs 7,000 to Rs 10,000 while MPhil allowance has been increased to Rs 5,000.

Khalid Khan Langove said that Rs 1.3 billion were distributed among the families of those who were affected by terrorism in the province. Moreover, compensation amount to the heirs of martyred personnel of forces and other government employees has also been increased from Rs 2 million to Rs 4 million and the maximum to Rs 50 million.

Earlier, the provincial cabinet approved the budget proposals for the next fiscal year.

The opposition boycotted the budget session which was later adjourned till 20th.

Terming the budget “anti-masses”, Balochistan Assembly opposition leader Maulana Abdul Wasey, flanked by his deputy Zamarak Achakzai and other opposition members, told a press conference, “Our voice is not being heard in assembly and therefore we have decided not to participate in the session.”

Wasey said the provincial government had failed to address the grievances of masses and include projects of public interests in the financial budget. “Rulers only gave priority to their home constituencies,” the opposition leader complained.