LAHORE - The Opposition in the Punjab Assembly yesterday termed provincial budget replete with taxes and containing no relief for the layman.

The House started general debate on the budget with Opposition Leader Mian Mahmudur Rashid taking the floor.

Addressing the Speaker Rana Iqbal Khan, the Leader of the Opposition said the budget did not reflect aspirations of the masses as the same had not been prepared in consultation with the standing committees of the House which are well versed on the issues and know needs of the people, but on the recommendations of the Deputy Secretaries, section officers and the clerks who cannot determine what the people actually need.

He said the next year budget carries deficit of Rs 114billion which would be met from loans but the government boasting of an ideal budget, have begun to make huge spending on advertisement of the budget when it has yet to be passed by the House.

The opposition leader said the government through the budget had levied additional taxes of Rs185billion which have to affect the life of everyone. When the Sharif family took over some nine years back, the province had surplus budget of Rs 402billion but since then PML-N government took loans to the tune of Rs533billion.

Mian Mahmud said the government has failed to meet any target it had set in the last budgets. This grossly manifests incapacity and failure of the government. He further pointed out one percent tax on exports and said, it is unique in the world and amounts to stifling exports of the country and denying earning of the forex.

The Opposition leader presented documents to the Finance Minister to substantiate the argument that since 2008, every budget presented by the N-government contained contradictions and antithesis which he added, needs to be looked into. He said Punjab CM highly boasts of austerity and saving of the national resources, but his own office is costing Rs 17lakh to the national kitty per day.

He said in the budget 2015-16, the budgetary outlay for the CM office was Rs34.42crore which later on exceeded to Rs57.24crore. Similarly for the CM House Rs 13crore were earmarked while expenditure remained Rs14crore.

Mian Mahmudur Rashid said in the budget 2016-17 the total outlay for CM office and CM House is Rs61.24crore which is double from the current year original amount.

He said in the scorching heat when the poor are exposed to the rigors of rigid weather, Rs 84lakh have been allocated for the purchase of new generator the CM House. He also belied claim that the CM personally pays for his visits abroad said the budget documents reveal that Rs 37lakh were paid to the PIA for the travelling of the Chief Minister.

Calculating the budgetary allocation of Rs 12.54crore and Rs 1.20crore on security of the Governor House, he said the daily expenditure of the governor House is Rs three lakh which was too much for a poor country like ours.

He said for the security of the Administrative block of the Ministers, Rs 64lakh were spent when fact of the matter no minister has so far shifted to that block. He said despite the fact crore of rupees are being spent to Advocate General office of the Punjab, yet crores of rupees have been paid to a private counsel.

The Opposition leader said the last year the government failed to spend the development budget in toto. Of Rs 44billion earmarked for education only Rs19billion were utilized while Rs 10billion were allocated for agriculture but only Rs two billion were spent. For Industries Rs nine billion were allocated but spending remained only Rs three billion.

Mian Mahmud said that last year Rs 33billion were allocated for energy but only Rs11billion were spent. Similarly of rs35billion allocated for women development but only Rs11billion were utilized. However, he said for transport the allocation was Rs 33billoin but Rs 97billion were utilized in this area which means funds allocated for other departments were shifted to this side.

The Opposition leader said that for the next year allocation of Rs 124billion has been made for transport sector however it is anybody’s guess how much of it would be used. He said the budget has announced Rs 100billion for kissan which will be spent in next two years but the government has also shared this amount with the subsidy the Federal government has announced for Urea fertilizers. Rs 12billion of the Kissan Package, he said will go to that subsidy.

He demanded the government to lay down the same system as it was in vogue in India of giving subsidy to farmers on fertilizers, DAP, pesticides and equipment. He also criticised the government on the projects like Ashiyana Housing scheme which today was invisible.

He said Orange Line Metro Train has robbed the whole Punjab of its development funds. This project will penalize even our generations to come. He said the government would be obliged to suffer Rs 11.79billion burden that would incurred through subsidy on the Metro.