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Balochistan to unveil Rs278bn deficit budget tomorrow

QUETTA: The Balochistan government will present the budget for the next fiscal year on June 18. The governor has already summoned the budget session of the Balochistan Assembly, but it has yet to be decided who would present the first budget of the coalition government led by Chief Minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan Zehri.

Sources in the finance department said the total outlay of the next fiscal year’s budget would be around Rs278 billion, with an annual development programme (ADP) of over Rs60bn. Moreover, it would be a deficit budget. Half of the ADP allocations would be allocated for greater Quetta water supply project, railway mass transit scheme project, launching of a green bus service in Quetta and development of divisional and district headquarters.

The financial managers of the provincial government proposed allocation of Rs10bn for the greater Quetta water supply project in view of the acute drinking water shortage in the provincial capital as underground water level has been depleted up to over 1,500 metres and most of water resources supplying water to Quetta have dried up.

Besides, Rs2bn is expected to go for railway mass transit system project making it part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. A Chinese company recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Balochistan government for conducting a survey and preparing a feasibility report of the proposed project.

The provincial government also decided to launch green bus service in Quetta and has proposed to allocate Rs1bn for the project to tackle increasing transport problem.

Moreover, in view of numerous civil problems faced by the divisional and district headquarters of the province, the government has proposed allocation of Rs10bn, a part of which would be spent on providing citizens with basic facilities, including drinking water and health care.

A sizeable amount would also be allocated to construct and improve roads of Quetta and other divisional headquarters.

The provincial government has also decided to award contracts of all big projects, including greater Quetta water supply project and road construction, to the leading construction companies who were working on different projects in Punjab and other provinces.

“We want all the projects being proposed in the upcoming budget to be completed in time with quality work,” a senior official of the Balochistan government told Dawn, adding that there would be no compromise on the quality of the work.

Sources said the government has decided to provide maximum development funds for the collective new development schemes and avoid further increase of throw-forward which has already reached around Rs180bn. It would increase to Rs200bn if those ongoing schemes were not abandoned.

It was learnt that the government considered abandoning such schemes which were launched by the previous governments on political pressure of MPAs. “Funds would be allocated for collective-nature development projects in the future and all individual-nature MPA schemes would be discouraged,” the official said.

At present, 2,250 ongoing development schemes launched during last three successive governments need huge funds for completion.