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Punjab govt presents Rs3.2 trillion "tax-free" annual budget after 2-day delay

Govt employees to get 30 percent pay raise

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Punjab govt presents Rs3.2 trillion "tax-free" annual budget after 2-day delay
GNN Media: Representational Photo

Lahore: Punjab government on Wednesday presented the provincial budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 with a total outlay of around Rs 3.2 trillion after a delay of two days as the treasury and opposition locked horns over the budget session.

Provincial minister Sardar Awais Leghari presented the provincial budget worth over Rs3.226 billion during a budget session held at Aiwan-e-Iqbal after the Punjab governor limited the powers of the Speaker Punjab Assembly to hold session in the PA's house.

According to the budget document, the government will increase the salaries and pensions of government employees by 15 percent with a 15% special allowance.

As per budget 2022-23, the employees will get 15 percent increase in basic pay and 15 percent disparity allowance. Rs435.87 billion have been allocated for salaries while the pensioners will get a 15% hike as the pension bill has been put at Rs312 billion.

However, the disparity allowance will be limited to selected departments of the provincial government.

Terming it a “pro-poor and pro-development budget”, the provincial minister said no new tax would be imposed in the budget while existing special concessions and incentives will continue.

He said Rs683.5bn have been allocated for development schemes, Rs56 billion for education, Rs173 billion for health and 11.95bn will be given to the ‘Saaf Pani’ project.

Punjab has allocated Rs6.2 billion for governance and IT, Rs500 million for labour and HR development, Rs6.3 billion for transport and Rs1.8 billion for emergency service (1122), according to official documents.

Lagahri presented the budget proposals earlier approved by the cabinet, saying the policies of the PTI government stalled development in the province for the last three years.

“Data shows that during the period 2019-22, there has neither been a single development programme worth mentioning nor has the province witnessed any social welfare programme,” he said, blaming the PTI government for "wasting their three years in framing false cases" against the opposition. 

Recalling the last budget of the PML-N government for the fiscal year 2017-18, the provincial minister highlighted that at the time, the country’s GDP growth was rising at a steady pace and that the per capita income had reached $1,629. 

He said foreign investment was pouring in as Pakistan was declared an investment-safe country, the stock market was the second-best in Asia and international institutions were recognising Pakistan’s growth.

The provincial minister accused the PTI-led government of not paying attention to the energy issues which led to other issues including unemployment, poverty, inflation, etc.

The minister said out of the total amount of the budget, it had been proposed to keep Rs1,712 billion for running expenditures while the total outlay of the development budget is Rs685 billion.

The income has been estimated at Rs2.521 trillion the finance minister said, adding that the province is expected to receive over Rs2.020 trillion from the come from the federal divisible pool.

The minister said over Rs500 were expected to be collected under the head of provincial receipts that were more than 24% in comparison with last year’s collection.

Laghari said the government, aiming a 24% increase, has set the target of non-tax revenue at Rs163 billion.

He went on to add that under the chief minister’s relief package, Rs200 will be allocated for providing wheat at a cheaper rate to the masses. Laghari said that a 10kg wheat bag, which was earlier available at Rs650 could be bought at Rs490.

In addition to this, another relief package of Rs142 billion had been proposed, including the selling of edible items at a lower cost, subsidised transport costs, and other facilities for farmers.

Laghari said total outlet of the development budget was Rs685 billion out of which 40% would be spent on the social sector, 24% on infrastructure, 6% on production, 2% on the services sector, and 28% will be allocated for special measures.

The minister said the government had proposed 35% of the total Annual Development Program for South Punjab and allocated Rs240 billion for several development projects.

 

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Polling underway for Swat PK-7 byelection

Four major candidates compete for the KP assembly seat

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Polling underway for Swat PK-7 byelection

Swat: The polling process is underway for the byelection in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa constituency of PK-7 in Swat.

The seat, which fell vacant after the demise of ANP MPA Waqar Khan, is being contested by four major candidates: Hussain Ahmed from ANP, Fazal Mullah from PTI, and two independent candidates.

A total of 183,308 registered voters in the constituency are expected to exercise their electoral rights, including 102,088 male and 91,220 female voters.

The ECP completed its arrangements Saturday evening, setting up 124 polling stations with 308 booths.

The polling started without any delays Sunday morning and will continue until 5 pm.

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Pakistan

Rigging, incidents of violence disrupts Sindh LG polls

Video of public rigging in Sindh local body elections went viral

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Rigging, incidents of violence disrupts Sindh LG polls

Sukkar: Incidents of rigging and violence are being reported during the Polling for the first phase of Local Government elections in fourteen districts of Sindh.

Polling for the first phase of local government elections in Sindh is underway which started at 8am and will continue till 5pm without any break in 14 districts of the province including Sukkur, Shaheed Benazirabad, Larkana, Mirpur Khas, Umarkot, Tharparkar, Sanghar, Naushehro Feroze, Kanbar-ShahdadKot, Shikarpur, Jacobabad, Kahmor, Ghoki and Khairpur.

However, as soon as the balloting started, reports of rigging as well as violence poured in.

A video of rigging during polls goes viral on socila media showing that more than one voter are stamping on their votes publically on the Returning Officer's table.

On the other hand, violence in Sukkur, Kandhkot, Nawabshah, Ghotki and Mirpur Mathelo left dozens of people injured. At least one polling station in Kandhkot was attacked by dacoits.

Polling in Municipal Committee Ward 13 was suspended after a conflict resulted in the death of one person in Tando Adam.

The polling station was immediately shut down after the incident.

In Kandhkot, at least 20 people were reportedly injured as a fight broke out between the workers of rival political parties in ward 10 during the local bodies polls in Kandhkot on Sunday.

A large contingent of police and rangers rushed to the scene to restore the law and order.

A scuffle between PPP and JUI candidates also broke out in Sukkur that left two people injured including JUI general councilor candidate Ghulam Mustafa.

The incident was reported in Fareed Mehr polling station in Pano Aqil.

JUI candidate has alleged that the attack was ‘unprovoked’.

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Pakistan

New ‘storm of inflation’ is impending: Imran Khan

Imran Khan takes a dig at government over super tax; terms it 'economic murder' of people

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New ‘storm of inflation’ is impending: Imran Khan

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan Saturday slammed the incumbent government for imposing new taxes on the industrial sectors, saying that the taxes on the production sectors would further increase ‘inflation’ and ‘unemployment’. 

While addressing a news conference in Islamabad today, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan banged the coalition government for imposing a 10% super tax on large-scale industries— saying that the decision would lead to the “closure of industries”, increase unemployment, inflation, and push Pakistan further into economic crisis. 

“With the imposition of 10% super tax, the tax on 13 large-scale industries will reach 40%,” he stressed, adding that the decision would led to the shutting down of several industrial units.

The cricketer-turned politician stated that the tax exemption on the salaried class has been reversed which would batter them down financially. 

“They [salaried class] were earlier given a tax exemption on an income of Rs100, 000; but now the slab has been reduced to Rs 50,000,” added Khan.  

Referring to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) amendment law, Imran Khan expressed confidence in the judiciary, saying it would not allow such oppression—terming it “attempt of corrupt rulers to save themselves”. 

“If the government succeeds, Pakistan wouldn’t need enemies,” said PTI chairman, adding that these NAB amendments will destroy the country as the "thieves will be exempted". 

It is pertinent to mention here that PTI has challenged the amendments in the Supreme Court and today the former prime minister gave a call for nationwide protests on July 2 against the amendments in NAB laws.

He further added that his government collected record tax in Pakistan’s history and was working to broaden the tax net.

The main protest would be organized in Islamabad’s Parade Ground where Imran Khan would address. 

Khan also urged the people to protest peacefully against what was being done with Pakistan, asking them to take to the roads simultaneously. 

 

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