Lahore: - The All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) President Ibrahim Qureshi has lambasted the Punjab government for failing to fully utilise the budget allocated under the Annual Development Programme in the outgoing fiscal year 2015-16, as it could spend only 60 percent of it.

He also expressed the fear that funds allocated for agriculture, education and health would be used up by the Orange Line Project.

“Despite high taxes in every sector, historical deficit of Rs114 billion is an ample proof of incompetency of the economic managers,” he added.

Giving details, Qureshi said that Rs24 billion were allocated for health in the budget for the FY 2015-16, but only Rs3.5 billion were spent.

He said the total debt of Punjab had crossed Rs625 billion, whereas the amount of interest on payment of loans annually had crossed Rs 125 billion. He said Rs50 billion Kisan Package was misleading the farmers.

“It is a common practice in the country that a very small amount of allocated budget is utilised during a fiscal year, and most of the funds lapse every year,” he regretted.

Regarding overall economy of the country, Qureshi said that it was unfortunate that despite improvement in the country’s security situation, Pakistan risked default as 42 % of its foreign debt, around $50 billion, was due in 2016.

He said around $30 billion was due between July and September, out of which $8.3 billion were to be paid in foreign currency, depleting 40% of the country’s $21 billion in foreign-exchange holdings.

“Pakistan’s massive public debt, with a large portion financed through short-term instruments, does make the sovereign’s ability to meet their financing needs more sensitive to market conditions,” he added.

“In 2013, a $6.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was used for paying previous outstanding loans and avoiding a Greece-like crisis. Since then, the projected debt due by end-2016 has grown by 79pc,” he recalled.

“At Rs13 trillion, 77 percent of the budget is already allocated for loan repayments this year. In order to meet IMF demands, the government wishes to privatise state-owned enterprises. Last year in November, the government imposed new taxes worth Rs40 billion to meet the fiscal deficit,” he concluded.