2nd Pre-Budget Consultative workshop held
LAHORE: For the first time in the history of Punjab this Govt took steps to address regional inequality. Resources have been directed to far flung regions of the province so they too are elevated to the status of developed parts of the province.
This was stated by Hashim Jawan Bakht, Minister Finance Punjab while addressing the second Pre-Budget Consultative workshop organised by Finance Department with support of Sub National Governance Programme, a technical assistance programme to the Governments of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa for strengthened governance, improved provision of basic services, and a more evidence based process of decision-making. He further said that investment in the social sector has contributed to achievement of the sustainable development goals He reiterated his priorities for health, education and poverty alleviation in the upcoming budget. Punjab Finance Minister, Mr. Hashim Jawan Bakht said that Punjab represents 50% of the federation and he believed it was the responsibility of the Government of Punjab to lead by example in prudent fiscal management and a balanced planning approach. He stated that the Government is working hard to ensure that 110 million people in Punjab have effective access to universal healthcare coverage.
Pre-budget consultative worksho brought together senior government officials, experts, civil society representatives, UN representatives and prominent academics to provide input in the upcoming Punjab provincial budget 2022-23. The event was also attended by Minister for livestock and dairy development, Mr. Husnain Dreshak, Minister for Women Development, Ashifa Riaz Fatyana and Minister for Agriculture Punjab Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi.
This event was organized to make the budget-making process more open and participatory; to reduce the gap between the Government and citizens by identifying citizens’ needs and preferences for the upcoming budget; and to ensure effective participation of citizens in allocation of budgetary resources, especially with reference to the most vulnerable and marginalized groups. Abdullah Khan Sumbal, Chairman Planning and Development Board said, “We live in an age of co-production. We cannot wish away inclusion, transparency and accountability. Induced participation which is well calibrated helps the government overcome challenges through collective action.” Civil society experts and academics participated in the workshop including Bela Raza Jamil, WWF Director Dr. Imran Khalid, Wilbroad Ngambi from UNCEF, Dr. Yasmeen Zaidi from AAWAZ, Salman Abid and Ume Laila Azhar. They provided proposals for key sectors of the government including Health, Education, Local government, Agriculture, Social Protection and Social Welfare, Environment and climate change, housing, urban development and public health and many other areas. Sana Zia, FCDO representative said that FCDO congratulated Finance Department and Government of Punjab for holding the 2nd session. She further said that Institutionalising this process would make it a permanent feature of Punjab’s budget.
Usman Chaudry, Team Lead SNG Punjab thanked the participants for their inputs and the finance department for their leadership on participatory budgeting. The consultation aimed to ensure that the provincial budget 2022-23 is focused on improving the lives of Punjab’s citizens, especially marginalised groups.