Gilgit-Baltistan:Utilization of Rs. 19.4 Billion Budget

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Gilgit (ET): Legislators have urged the Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government to refrain from spending more than half of the new fiscal budget on schemes left incomplete from previous years.

A majority of lawmakers stated this during a debate at the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) on the utilisation of Rs19.39 billion announced few days back for G-B for the fiscal year 2012-2013.

The lawmakers maintained that the G-B government often justifies non-initiation of new projects on the pretext that a significant portion of the budget is being spent on previously incomplete projects. They said that the government should change its policy of spending over 80 per cent of the budget on previously incomplete development schemes and proposed that at least 50 per cent of the budget should be spent on new schemes to provide benefit to the people.

Ayub Shah, a parliamentarian of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from Ghizar district, said that as per weather forecasts, floods could hit G-B as early as next month. He proposed that funds be set aside to make necessary arrangements to counter the floods and to cope with any eventuality that they may cause.

Another lawmaker from Ghizer district, Nawaz Khan Naji, said the government must not discriminate against smaller areas in the distribution of wealth. “People will forget Imran Khan’s tsunami if Mehdi Shah delivered,” he added.

Shireen Fatima of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf said that funds must be spared for women development in G-B, adding that Karakoram International University needs to be provided grants to continue educational activities.

Opposition leader in GBLA, Janbaz Khan, rebuked the government over its allocations in the new budget, which he termed “anti-public”. “The rulers all over the country are befooling the people in the name of Bhutto,” said Khan. He said the chief minister “must deliver if he wants to be re-elected”.

Rehmat Khaliq of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam — Fazl, Mirza Hussain of Pakistan Muslim League — Quaid, Abdul Hameed of PPP, Yasmeen Nazar, and Didar Ali also spoke during the assembly session.

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