LAHORE (Staff Report) – Punjab Finance Minister Dr Aysha Pasha Punjab Finance Minister Dr Aysha Pasha has assured the government will further increase the allocations of resources for education, health and south Punjab development in the forthcoming fiscal budget.

“The Punjab government evolved balanced and stable policies for the growth of the province,” the minister said while addressing the Lahore Economic Journalist Association (LEJA) members here at Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Thursday.

President LEJA Sudhir Ch, Vice President LCCI Nasir Saeed was also there.

In his welcome note, Mr Sudhir Ch appreciated the Punjab government which first time made an economist as finance minister of the province as a result better economic management is witnessed.

Dr Pasha said that the government was also planning to expand ambit of the GST on services and include the medical doctors and others in the tax net from next year and automate the sales tax collection mechanism.

She added that revenue collections in the first half of the ongoing fiscal year have increased by 31 percent, while the Punjab government gradually increasing its revenue generation in order to reduce the dependence on the federal government.

She further said that Rs160 billion loan from Chinese Exim Bank will transfer to Punjab government in the coming days. No loan in any other head has taken for Orange Train Project, while priority spending amount will approve by the Punjab assembly through supplementary grants, the finance minister told the gathering.

“The Punjab government is providing Rs23 billion food subsidy which is also benefiting the rich people. Now the government has planned to give targeted subsidy which will only cater the real needy people,” said the minister, who also claimed that the inflation rate was declined by 4 and half percent after reduction in petroleum products prices.

On a question, Dr Pasha said the debt burden on Punjab is Rs421b while the government is supporting the Bank of Punjab in various issues. She informed the business community that the government is working for automation of sale tax collection which will increase revenue generation and create transparency in the system.

She also cleared that the Punjab Revenue Authority will not burden the poor.