Next financial year would be the year of economic growth while special development packages would be given to the backward districts to balance the development process in Punjab, said Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht.

During a briefing on budget preparation for the next fiscal year at the Finance Department, the minister emphasised that investment would be made in local bodies, roads, public health and irrigation system to ensure economic growth.

“Provision of infrastructure, technical and vocational training for the promotion of industrialisation will be ensured,” he stressed.

Bakht noted that modern research and expansion in the agriculture sector would be among top priorities in the next budget. “A significant increase in the development budget will be ensured to achieve economic growth,” he added.

He instructed the relevant authorities to ensure the preparation of a joint database to effectively utilise resources of the province, ensure uniformity in tax rates and implementation of a fully automated system for revenue collection.

The provincial minister told the meeting that in line with the current situation in the wake of Covid-19, the Punjab government was reviewing the tax relief given in the current financial year for the revival of businesses, which it may continue to offer in the next financial year.

However, the government will emphasise the need for expanding the tax net to increase resources.

He pointed out that the tax collected from the agriculture sector would be used for the development of the sector.

“The Punjab government will ensure the provision of special funds for industrial development.” The government is also investing in a scheme to provide affordable housing units to the low-income citizens.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2021.

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