Provincial Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht Tuesday disclosed the Punjab government would launch Bahimmat Social Protection Scheme in an effort to provide social security and protection to the senior citizens of age 65 and above.
Speaking at a pre-budget consultation and launching of a book titled: ‘Growth & Inequality in Pakistan’ organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) at a local hotel, he added that social protection programmes should be large part of medium and long term economic frameworks.
The Provincial Finance Minister vowed that in the forthcoming budget, the Punjab government would take care of marginalized segments of the society by allocating more resources in social protection funds.
“We are also looking for out of the box solutions, such as materializing the public private partnership to help improve the governance and resource mobilization.”
He said there were some structural changes on expenditure side of the budget such sticky expenditures of pensions, which swelled significantly and dictating our revenue allocations. During last seven years, he mentioned, there were around Rs 2,048 billion of PSDP (Public Sector Development Programme) spent in the whole Punjab, out of Rs 1,048 billion spent on Lahore alone and Rs 1,000 billion on rest of the province, which created the regional inequalities.
“We have to unlock our dead investment, which is land, and should rationally utilize this crucial resource. The future is digital and digitization of the economy is the way forward for growth and development,” he remarked.
Dr. Hafiz A. Pasha, renowned economist and former finance minister call upon the government for equal tax treatment for all citizens and no special groups should be given tax exemptions.
He said only a broad base political consensus on economy could help the government to get out of economic quagmire, where all major political parties could agreed upon the common reforms agenda.
He was of the view that elite class enjoying extraordinary privileges within the legal framework of the country were largely responsible for current chaotic economic situation.