‘Austerity, fiscal prudence saved Punjab from crossing overdraft limit’

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LAHORE: Punjab Finance Minister Hashim Jawan Bakhat said that fiscal year 2018-19 was year of economic reforms and stability while 2019-20 is year of economic growth. He said the Punjab government focused on austerity, reduction in non-development expenditures, balance and social protection.
He said the efficient management of development budget in 2018-19 resulted in budget releases increased from 70 per cent in 2017-18 to 96 per cent in 2018-19 which increased budget utilization from 65 per cent in 2017-18 to 90 per cent in 2018-19. Further, no overdraft limit was consumed and zero pending liabilities at the close of FY 2018-19 and no litigation on that account. These improvements constituted the stepping stone for more purposeful action in the ongoing fiscal year 2019-20.
The minister chairing the review meeting of the Finance Department here on Wednesday observed that austerity and fiscal prudence were exercised on non-development expenditures side and major focus on regional equalization and social protection on the development side were given in the budget 2019-20.
As a result of the reforms introduced by the Punjab government, provincial revenue source had increased and revenue target of Rs 388 billion against revise estimates of Rs 269 billion of fiscal year 2018-19, an increase of 44.6 per cent, was achieved. All-time high additional resource mobilization of Rs 24.91 billion through innovative measures was also achieved. Further, austerity measures and reprioritizing of expenditure resulted in saving of Rs 55 billion by reducing non-salary current expenditures.
The government launched Ehsaas Punjab to mitigate the adverse impact of macroeconomic challenges on vulnerable groups through a comprehensive social protection program. Additionally allocations for the social protection were increased from 32 per cent in FY 2017-18 to 41 per cent in ongoing fiscal year 2019-20.

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