Rs12.98 Billion Budget For Gilgit-Baltistan23 June 2010
Gilgit: The Gilgit-Baltistan government presented on Wednesday its first budget with an outlay of Rs12.984 billion and Rs6.404 billion non-development expenses. Finance Minister Mohammad Ali Akhtar told the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly that Rs1.227 billion would be required to increase the salary of government employees by 50 per cent and medical allowance of employees up to BPS 15 by 100 per cent and higher pay scales by 15 per cent. He also announced a 50 per cent raise for police personnel and revision of their pay scales to bring them at par with other provinces. Mr Akhtar said 1,500 new jobs would be created during the 2010-11 fiscal year. He said that Rs1.878 billion would be spent on subsidising wheat in Gilgit-Baltistan, although this subsidy had been stopped in other parts of the country. He said 25.16 per cent of the budget would be spent on education and the number of scholarship for students from the region enrolled in educational institutions across the country would be doubled to 600. The minister said the government’s operating expenses had been reduced by 26.5 per cent and the amount saved would be used to create new posts, adding that 250 new posts would be created in police to improve law and order. He said expenses on entertainment, gifts and purchase of physical assets had been frozen. The non-development budget has been increased by Rs638.486 million and Rs700 million has been released for implementing the Empowerment Order of 2009. He said six new departments, headed by secretaries, had been set up. He said that in view of the increasing population, new divisions, districts, sub divisions and tehsils had to be created. A department will be set up to improve the prisons system and another to deal with disasters. The finance minister said the services department had been asked to ensure 10 per cent jobs for women. The budget sets a revenue target of Rs355.124 million and earmarks Rs3.127 billion for one new and nine ongoing projects under the Public Sector Development Programme and Rs1.234 billion for a Special Development Package. The finance minister said 80 per cent of the allocation would be spent on ongoing projects and 20 per cent on new plans. He said work on 258 of 611 ongoing projects would be completed during the year. He said Rs1.14 billion had been allocated for completing 14 projects in the power sector and Rs952.2 million for the transport and communications sector. He said Rs387.7 million had been allocated for improving infrastructure for education, health, tourism, fisheries, agriculture and forests. The minister said Rs698.35 million would be spent on new projects to be launched in consultation with members of the assembly.