Sunday, July 14, 2024

Punjab presents Rs5,446 billion tax-free budget, announces 25% increase in salaries of govt employees

Punjab presents Rs5,446 billion tax-free budget, announces 25% increase in salaries of govt employees
June 13, 2024 Web Desk

LAHORE (92 News) - Punjab Finance Minister Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman on Thursday presented the Rs5,446 billion tax-free budget for fiscal year 2024-25, announcing a 25 percent increase in the salaries of the government employees.

Presenting the budget, he said that it had been proposed to increase the salaries of government employees from BPS-1 to 16 and 20 percent raise in the salaries of the employees from BPS-17 to 22.

He said that pension of the retired government employees has been increased by 15 percent. “7,000 tube-wells will be shifted to solar panels. The laptop scheme will be started with an amount of Rs10 billion,” he added.

The minister said that an amount of Rs2.5 billion had been allocated for the undergraduate programme. “The dead schemes amounting to Rs350 billion will be restored. A sum of Rs20.5 billion has been earmarked for Danish schools,” he added.

He said that an amount of Rs69.74 billion had been allocated for the education sector. “Free solar panels will be given to those using up to 100 units. Farmers will be able to become tractor owners on easy instalments. An environment-friendly bus service will be started in five cities of Punjab,” he announced.

The PPP lawmakers remained absent from the budget speech. The treasury members went to their chamber and convinced them to join the session. Later, the PPP members attended the session symbolically.

PPP leader Ali Haider Gillani said that his party was not consulted in the preparation of the budget. “We cannot support the budget under these circumstances,” he added.

During the budget session, the opposition members lodged severe protest and raised an uproar besides chanting anti-government slogans. The opposition members gathered around the speaker dais and tore off the budget copies. Meanwhile, journalists also boycotted the session against the Defamation Act.

APP adds: The minister said the government had allocated a total of Rs 842 billion for development programme, which is 28 per cent higher than the outgoing FY 2023-24’s budgetary allocation of Rs 655 billion. Out of the development budget, he elaborated, 33 per cent would be spent on social sector, 29pc on infrastructure, 13pc on production sector, and 5pc on services sector, while 20pc would go to special programmes/initiatives.

Giving break-up of the budget in his speech at the Punjab Assembly, the finance minister said that the total revenue collection was estimated at Rs 4,643.40 billion, adding that under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, Punjab will receive Rs 3,683.10 billion from the federal divisible pool, while provincial receipts (own resource revenue) are estimated at Rs 960.30 billion (54 per cent higher than the current fiscal year) for financial year 2024-25.

He mentioned that the Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) has been given revenue collection target of Rs 300 billion (25 percent high than FY2023-24), Board of Revenue Rs 105 billion (six per cent higher), and Excise Department Rs 57 billion (25pc higher), while under the head of non-tax revenue, Rs 488.40 billion collection is estimated which is 111pc higher than the FY 2023-24.

Terming the provincial budget tax-free, progressive and pro-business in the given circumstances, Mian Mujtaba said that during the financial year 2024-25, Rs 603.1 billion would be spent on salaries, Rs 451.40 billion on pension and Rs 857.40 allocated for local governments.