Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rs.15.43 billion budget presented for GB

GILGIT: A total annual budget of Rs15.43 billion for the year 2011-12 was presented in the Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly on Monday.

Meanwhile, as Finance Minister Mohammad Ali Akhtar presented the budget in the assembly, opposition members and journalists boycotted the budget session.

Out of the total budget, an amount of Rs 8.17 billion was allocated for non-development activities whereas Rs 7.268 billion has been allocated for development.

In the budget speech, the finance minister added that 23 per cent of the budget was allocated for education, while 16 per cent was apportioned for health. An increase of 15 per cent was also announced for government salaries, with a 15-20 per cent increase in pensions for retired employees.

According to the budget details posted on the Gilgit-Baltistan website, a total of Rs 1.89 billion have been allocated for nine Federal Public Sector Development Projects (PSDP) in the province, whereas Rs 1.2 billion have been earmarked as Gilgit-Baltistan Special Development Package.

The finance minister said the salaries of government employees have been increased by 50 per cent and salaries of Police force was doubled. He said there was an increase of 100 per cent in medical allowance of employee from BS1 to 15 while the raise in medical allowance was 15 per cent from Bs 16 to 22.
The budget statistics as disclosed by him revealed that Rs.600million for the pay of officer, RS.1919 million for pay of staff, Rs.2322million for regular allowance and Rs. 97 million for other allowances were allocated.

He continued to unfold that Rs.1646 million for the establishment expenditure and Rs.1 million as privileges of retired employees, Rs.232 million as recoverable loans as well as subsidies. In fine, he said, the total allocation is Rs8170 million in this regard.

The Minister said Rs.11.187 million allocated for civil works while Rs. 1194 million for the maintenance and look after of the bridges and roads and salaries of the employees will also be paid from this amount.

The Finance Minister said the employees of GB Civil Secretariat, Chief Minister Secretariat, and governor secretariat will have the utility allowances as per their entitlement during the next financial year as there is allocation for this purpose.

The Minister said the target for revenue has been set Rs.250.723 million.

Mr. Akhtar said the GB government after consultation with Federal Finance Ministry, State Bank and other concerned institutions has made functional the GB government consolidated account and the non-development budget will be deposited in this account for the first time as the main branch of National Bank will play role of agent of the State Bank.

The Minister said the world bank has prepared the economical report of the GB which is a guidance for the area.

The Finance Minister said the worst floods hindered execution of the PSDP programme and all mega projects could not be completed in time.

The Finance Minister said total size of GB development also included Rs1192.788 million for 13 projects.

The Minister said 67 percent budget of the development was allocated for 473 projects and remaining 33 percent budget was allocated for 90 new schemes. The power sector given top priority by allocated 30 percent budget of annual development plan followed by Transport and Communication and Physical and Social Sector with 21 and 10 per cent respectively.

The Minister disclosed new project of Sairab GB will be initiated to irrigate the region while a mega project will be launched for the clean drinking water.

The Finance Minister said the size of block allocation is 6.10 billion and out of this amount Rs4.70 billion will be spent on execution of all uplift projects while 33 percent Rs.2 billion is allocated for identification of new projects.

The Finance Minister said the government will spent an amount of Rs.40.35 million rupees on youth while A Rs.40 million project for media uplift was also included in the budget.

He disclosed that Gilgit and Sakrdu Development Authorities will be launched in the region for development.

The Finance Minister said a pilot mega project was in the budget for Sanitary and Sewerage System for Gilgit town and an amount of Rs1500 million would be spent on these projects. Dawn/APP

Budget boycott


Meanwhile, reporters in Gilgit-Baltistan boycotted the proceedings of the legislative assembly during the budget session in protests against what they feel are broken promises by the prime minister and the chief minister.

Opposition lawmakers including PML-Q members Bashir Ahmed and Amina Ansari, PML-N member Janbaz Khan, MQM member Raja Azam, Balawaristan National Front member Nawaz Naji and independent member Didar Ali also joined the protesting journalists.

“Our demands include a media colony for journalists, the establishment of a press foundation and approval for a welfare fund for media personnel,” said Gilgit Press Club President Khurshid Ahmed.

Ahmed accused Chief Minister Mehdi Shah of creating hindrances in the establishment of the media colony, which had been approved by the prime minister before the elections in 2009. He also claimed that the government was not interested in establishing a press foundation and a press information centre, and had not cooperated in the creating a welfare fund for journalists in Gilgit.

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