G-B govt unveils Rs.63bn budget for fiscal 2018-19


GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan government here on Thursday unveiled over Rs 63 billion budget for fiscal 2018-19 amid protest by members of opposition benches. The major portion of the budget is allocated for non-developmental expenditures.

The budget session of Gilgit-Baltistan Assembly was chaired by Deputy Speaker Jaffarullah Khan while the budget was presented by Finance Minister Akbar Taban.

In the budget, Rs28 billion and Rs26 million have been allocated for non-development expenditures and Rs18 billion for development, Rs7 billion for food subsidies and Rs8 billion PSDP projects.

The members of opposition benches including Leader of Opposition Mohammad Shafi, PPP member Javed Hussain, PTI member Raja Jahanzeb and BNF’s Nawaz Khan Naji tore the copies of budget and chanted slogans against the government.

However, Akbar Taban continued his budget speech amid the slogans of opposition benches.

The members of opposition benches continued to chant slogans till end of the budget speech. Owing to the noise in the session, journalists faced difficulty to understand the budget speech.

Addressing a press conference after the budget session, Taban said that the annual budget was increased as compared to that of previous years.

The budget could be approved till Sunday as PML-N has two-third majority in the assembly.
Taban criticised the opposition for the protest and said that it was unethical to chant slogans before listening budget speech. He said that funds were allocated for communication, health, education and tourism projects in region.

Speaking on the occasion, Shams Mir, the advisor to chief minister, said that rapid development in the region was witnessed during the last three years. He said that PML-N government started from Rs9 billion budget in 2015 and increased its outlay to over Rs63 billion. “We have achieved 200 per cent targets of development in the region,” he claimed.