After long delay, Balochistan cabinet reviews budgetary proposals

Dispute over new development schemes appears to have been resolved

The presentation of the provincial budget inched closer to realization on Tuesday evening after a deadlock in the provincial cabinet over adding new development schemes appeared to be resolved and led to the convening of the provincial cabinet to approve budgetary measures.

The provincial government, which has already twice rescheduled the presentation of the budget, was due to present the budget before the provincial assembly on Tuesday afternoon.

But a deadlock over development schemes in the approximately Rs517 billion budget delayed the quintessential cabinet meeting to approve the budget before its presentation in the assembly.

However, on Tuesday evening, the deadlock appeared to have been resolved as the cabinet finally met for a meeting to approve the budgetary proposals.

Budget on time?

The newly appointed Balochistan Finance Minister Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran had earlier affirmed that the provincial budget will be presented today.

He added that a meeting of the provincial cabinet had been summoned later this afternoon to deliberate on and pass the proposed budget.

Khetran further indicated that the upcoming budget will be one of deficit but will be “people-friendly”.

Deadlock

Sources in the government with knowledge of developments inside the cabinet suggested that there remains a deadlock over some development schemes.

As a result of the deadlock, the budget books have not been finalized thus far and there is a fear that the session could be postponed once more.

Heightened security

To ensure security and disperse any protesters, the city’s administration has deployed additional contingents of police around the provincial assembly building.

Police officials equipped with riot gear have also been deputed to deal with any protest that emerges.

Moreover, to prevent any rioting inside the assembly, the assembly secretariat has restricted entry for private guards of lawmakers as well as any guests.

Private media has also been barred from live coverage of the budget session from inside the house. Only government-owned media will be allowed to cover the event live.

Bewildered opposition

The opposition in the provincial assembly continues to be bewildered by the deadlock holding up the presentation of the provincial budget for the fiscal year 2022-23.

Sanaullah Baloch of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) could only hope that the issue is resolved a pro-people budget is presented.

The foundations for preparing the provincial budget are all wrong, he told SAMAA TV.

For the past three years, elected representatives have been sidelined when it comes to preparing the budget, he complained.

Baloch hoped that the upcoming budget is people-friendly. At the same time, he was pessimistic about the budget given the international situation and current economic position of the country.

Not much relief is expected, he said.

Once the budget is presented only then can we comment on it, the MPA from Kharan said.

Twice delayed

The session to present the provincial budget has been twice delayed already.

Earlier on Monday, SAMAA TV reported that a letter had been sent by the chief minister to the acting governor, asking him to reschedule the budget session.

Subsequently, a revised schedule for the budget session was issued in which the session was scheduled for 4 pm on Tuesday, June 21.

This was the second time that the session has been postponed.

Earlier, the acting governor had summoned a session of the Balochistan Assembly for Friday, June 17 for the government to present the budget.

However, the government rescheduled the session for Monday.

Meanwhile, the provincial government also replaced Noor Muhammad Damar as the finance minister, appointing Sardar Abdul Rehman Khetran as the new finance minister to present the budget.

budget

Balochistan Assembly

budget2023

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