Balochistan budget 2021-2022 and opposition’s concerns

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Balochistan budget 2021-2022 and opposition’s concerns 

Syed Ali Shah:

Budget is a key policy document of every government that spells out plans, allocating resources, and the mechanism for execution. Balochistan, the country’s resource-rich province is not known for allocating or investing its financial resources responsibly.

Bad governance, exclusive development, and lack of transparency in allocation and execution of funds have further pushed the province towards backwardness.

Chief Minister Balochistan, Jam Kamal Khan’s meetings with various government departments to prepare recommendations sound good. However, opposition lawmakers have expressed reservations and apprehensions about the fast-approaching budget.

The track record shows in Balochistan that the government ministers, advisers, parliamentary secretaries make tooth and nail efforts to include development schemes of their respective constituencies. Shakeela Naveed Dehwar, a female lawmaker from the Balochistan National Party (Mengal) painted a bleak picture of rural areas during the assembly session on Wednesday.

CM Secretariat, P&D and Finance play a key role

Chief Minister Secretariat, Planning and Development Department and Finance Department play a key role in including and excluding development schemes in the PSDP. This is a bitter reality that opposition legislators’ constituencies are always ignored in the allocation of funds.

On Wednesday, opposition lawmakers Malik Sikandar advocate and Sanaullah Baloch accused the provincial government of bypassing the opposition in preparing the budget.

As always, Balochistan is going to present a deficit budget this year again. The governments around the globe that face financial crises always reduce their non-development expenditures. However, our government continues to increase non-development expenditures despite deficit and backwardness. Despite being a resource-rich province, Balochistan is still lagging behind other provinces in terms of key social indicators.

Inclusive rather than exclusive development offers a solution 

The government should go beyond statements and take all stakeholders on board while finalizing development schemes under the PSDP. All constituencies need equal attention and allocation of funds.

The issue of ongoing development projects since 2002 should be addressed once and for all. Pouring money into two-decades-old schemes has exhausted the provincial treasury. Politically motivated and individuals schemes need to be discouraged from the PSDP.

Treasury and opposition members should go beyond constituencies-based schemes

The treasury and opposition benches should think beyond constituency-based and individual schemes and prepare pro-people schemes to bring this backward part of the country at par with developed provinces of the country. Reduction in the ratio of unemployment, poverty, illiteracy should be the hallmark of the forthcoming budget.

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