Punjab govt announces Rs25bn for youth under Punjab Rozgar Scheme

LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Finance, Hashim Jawan Bakht, has announced that Rs25 billion will be disbursed among youth as soft loans under Punjab Rozgar Scheme.

Briefing a news conference in Lahore on Saturday about Punjab’s financial progress, the provincial finance minister said that the Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) has registered an increase of 42 percent in revenue growth in the first six months of the financial year 2020-21 as compared to the last fiscal year. He said that the provincial government is starting a universal health coverage programme in the province which will cost Rs50 billion.

“The year 2020 has been painful due to the spread of the coronavirus, however, financial difficulties have provided opportunities for new experiments and reforms,” said the minister. “A tax relief package of Rs56 billion has been given for economic security during the pandemic, and by the end of the financial year, more than 90 percent of the development budget will have been utilised.”

The provincial minister said that the financial reforms being introduced to improve the administrative affairs of the province would lead to an increase in the growth rate. The plan with the World Bank to reform the public finance management system will ensure improved service delivery in the province.

The provincial minister said that for the past several years, a large part of the budget had been focused on pensions. The tireless work of the finance department has made it possible to increase the personal resources of the province by Rs59 billion through pension reforms. In the year 2020, a historic program of Rs55 billion was launched for the development of backward districts to eliminate inequality from the province.

He said a separate secretariat was set up in 2020 to fulfil the promises made to the people of South Punjab. Colour financing of the region’s budget is another major initiative of the Punjab government. Tax relief in the construction industry and construction sector has secured the employment of daily wage workers.

He said the five-year exemption on tax collections in public-private partnership projects have encouraged the private sector. “The participation of Bank of Punjab in various projects for the promotion of economic activities in the province is also one of the notable achievements of the Punjab government,” he added. He also claimed that involvement of private banks in public-private partnership projects will further strengthen economic activities.

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