QUETTA: The Balochistan Assembly on Saturday night passed the annual budget of the province of over Rs451.97 billion for the year 2020-21 in its marathon budget session and rejected all cut motions moved by opposition members on demands for grants.
Provincial Finance Minister Mir Zahoor Ahmed Buledi presented 93 demands for grants one by one in the house on which Nasrullah Zerey of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP), Mir Akhtar Hussain Langove, Akbar Mengal and Ahmed Nawaz Baloch of Balochistan National Party (Mengal) and Younus Aziz Zehri of Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl moved cut motions.
The finance minister presented 60 demands for grants of Rs295.96bn for non-development expenditure and 33 demands for grants of over Rs156.67bn for the Public Sector Development Programme.
On the intervention of Speaker Mir Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo, the opposition members withdrew some cut motions pertaining to salary and pension of the government employees and other non-development expenditures.
ANP stages walkout over ‘insufficient’ allocation for Levies Force
Mr. Bizenjo, after approval of the budget with majority vote, congratulated the government and the opposition and expressed the hope that both treasury and opposition benches would continue to work for development of Balochistan. He said that both sides had presented various suggestions for improvement in the budget and its implementation.
Members of the Awami National Party (ANP), which is part of the coalition government, walked out of the session over allocating “insufficient” funds for Levies Force.
When the finance minister presented a demand for grant regarding Levies Force and Mr Zerey moved a cut motion demanding deduction of one rupee, ANP parliamentary leader Asghar Khan Achakzai stood up and protested over allocation of lesser funds for the Levies Force. He said that the law enforcement agency was looking after around 90 per cent area of Balochistan and it needs more funds for improving its performance and fulfilling its requirements.
He demanded allocation of more funds for Levies Force.
The speaker asked the ANP member to control his emotions at which provincial minister Zamrak Khan Piralizai responded that he (speaker) should not joke.
The ANP members staged a walkout over not increasing the allocation for Levies Force. However, they were persuaded by Mir Arif Jan Mohammad Hasani and Noor Mohammad Dammar persuaded to return to the house.
Speaker Bizenjo and Zamrak Khan apologised to each other and resolved the matter.
The finance minister and Minister for Revenue Mir Saleem Khosa assured the ANP members that the matter would be reviewed at the next cabinet meeting.
The Balochistan Assembly adopted a joint resolution against the recent increase in prices of petroleum products in the country and called upon the federal government to withdraw the heavy price hike.
The joint resolution of the members of the provincial assembly was presented by Sana Baloch of the BNP-M.
Published in Dawn, June 29th, 2020