Punjab’s short-term budget lacks basic information

Budget divided in form of block allocated to sectors/departments, which is very vague

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Punjab’s short-term budget for 2023-24 lacks basic information and some clauses of various topics need to be clarified, including Rs325 billion allocated for development schemes and Rs70 billion subsidies for the poor.

Speaking on Monday, an official source explained that the budget document lacks details regarding the amount allocated for different sectors; the budget has been divided in the form of a block allocated to sectors/departments, which is very vague.

An official, requesting anonymity, added that the government should ensure that all budget allocation details are provided.

When asked why the budget is not self-explanatory, he said that it seems that the government has deliberately left it vague to avoid questions from the media or financial experts, in allocating blocks, the government looks for space to spend or use the money it wants, but on the other hand, when the government clarifies the funds allocated for the mentioned schemes. If it does, it is difficult for it to divert funds to the schemes they want, I think that is the possible reason, but let’s see what the interim government does in the next few days.

When contacted, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Energy SM Tanveer termed the budget as poor and people-friendly, adding that the subsidy amount of Rs70 billion is for the poorest of the poor and the finance department will soon release details in this regard by Tuesday (today).

SM Tanveer said that since he was not the finance minister and had only accompanied the Punjab information minister, he was unaware of the division of the block, but made it clear that Rs325 billion allocated for development would be spent in the next four months to complete half of the ongoing schemes till October.

A plan has been prepared in this regard, moreover, details about the development schemes will also be given by the government soon and the development budget will not be used for any new scheme.

The total estimate of the four-month budget is 17 trillion 19 billion rupees.