Chief Minister Balochistan, Mir Sarfaraz Bugti chairing the fist meeting of the provincial cabinet: Photo provided by DGPR

Staff Reporter:

QUETTA: In a groundbreaking move for Balochistan, Chief Minister Mir Sarfraz Bugti has set a new precedent by involving both government coalition parties and opposition members in the budget consultation process. This unprecedented collaboration was showcased during a brunch organized by the Chief Minister on Saturday, which saw the participation of Provincial Assembly member Abdul Khaliq Achakzai among other key political figures.

The Chief Minister’s initiative has been widely appreciated, with leaders expressing full support for the proposed budget, good governance, and reform processes. The new budget emphasizes the proper utilization of resources to address Balochistan’s longstanding issues of backwardness, focusing particularly on the health and education sectors.

Major Boost for Health and Education

For the next fiscal year, the Balochistan government has proposed a significant increase in budget allocations for education and health. The education budget is set to rise by 300%, while the health budget will see a 100% increase. This substantial boost reflects the government’s priority to improve these critical sectors.

Chief Minister Bugti highlighted that the first-ever inclusion of development projects approved under PC-1 in the budget will ensure transparency and accountability. He assured that the tendering process for these projects will commence from the first week of the new fiscal year, emphasizing the responsibility of concerned departments to monitor the progress effectively.

In an ambitious move to enhance educational opportunities, the Chief Minister announced the launch of the Benazir Bhutto Scholarship Program. This initiative will open doors to 200 universities worldwide, including prestigious institutions like Oxford, for HD students from Balochistan, with the government covering their annual educational expenses.

On the healthcare front, the government is set to introduce the province’s first air ambulance service. In partnership with the Sindh government, Balochistan will adopt a public-private model to improve medical facilities, including the establishment of a liver transplant center in Naseerabad district. This center, facilitated by a land donation from senior party leader Mir Mohammad Sadiq Imrani, aims to provide advanced medical care for liver disease patients.

Reforms and Accountability Measures

The Balochistan government is also intensifying efforts to combat drug addiction. Post-Eid, action will begin to activate rehabilitation centers for drug addicts. The Chief Minister reiterated the importance of effective monitoring and accountability in all development projects, with the CMIT and anti-corruption establishment being mobilized to ensure quality and timely completion.

Political Unity and Support

The budget and reform initiatives have garnered strong support from coalition and opposition leaders alike. Pakistan People’s Party leader and Provincial Minister for Development and Planning Mir Zahoor Ahmad Bilidi praised the reforms, expressing confidence in their positive outcomes. He highlighted accelerated progress on CPEC and other key communication projects, attributing it to the current government’s proactive approach.

National Party’s parliamentary leader, Engineer Zamrik Khan Achakzai, also voiced his support, noting that increasing revenue in productive sectors could help alleviate unemployment. Other provincial assembly members echoed these sentiments, pledging cooperation for the betterment of governance and public welfare under Chief Minister Bugti’s leadership.

This historic budget, focusing on robust reforms in health and education, marks a pivotal step towards addressing Balochistan’s developmental challenges. With unanimous political support, the province is poised for significant advancements in the coming fiscal year

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Quetta Voice is an English Daily covering all unfolding political, economic and social issues relating to Balochistan, Pakistan's largest province in terms of area. QV's main focus is on stories related to education, promotion of quality education and publishing reports about out of school children in the province. QV has also a vigilant eye on health, climate change and other key sectors.