LAHORE - The wind-up speech by Punjab Finance Minister Kamran Michael in the Punjab Assembly on Monday was more of a replica of his budget speech than what he should have conceived keeping in view the proposals and concerns raised by opposition members during the six-day general debate on the fiscal outlay for the year 2011-12. In his half-an-hour long speech, which started after 9:15pm, it was unusual to see that finance minister did not take off his eyes from the paper even for a few seconds. He read out the entire speech in one breadth. At the end of the day, the general discussion spreading over six days proved to be a futile exercise as the finance minister did not take into consideration any of the suggestions on budget allocations made for different departments. Some of the opposition members, out of the total eight who were in attendance at the time of finance ministers speech, were seen complaining that none of their concerns had been addressed in the wind-up speech. Mohsin Leghari, a PML-Q legislator from DG Khan told this scribe after the session that he had raised the point in the post-budget debate he had asked the government to explain as to what alternative it would adopt to execute different foreign-funded development projects in South Punjab to be completed at a cost of $223 million (Rs19 billion) after its decision to reject foreign assistance. Giving break-up, Leghari said that out of $223 million, $147 were to be spent on development projects in education sector while $76 million were to be utilised on municipal services. He said he did not find the answer to his question in finance ministers speech. The PPPs Tanvir Ashraf Kaira and Ahmad Hassan Dehr also expressed similar concerns. Kamran Michael justified Punjab governments foreign debt amounting to Rs416 billion, saying it was well within the international standards of borrowing. He said that debt-to-GDP ratio in Punjab had gone down to 4.1 per cent from 5 per cent last year, which was quite reasonable. He also blamed devaluation of rupee vis--vis dollar for surge in foreign debt and payments worth billions of rupees to make up for the dacoity in Bank of Punjab committed by the previous regime. Responding to the criticism by several opposition members that Punjab government was relying too much on the federal government for its resources, the finance minister said that it was constitutional right of Punjab to have its share of funds from the federal divisible pool. He said that Punjab government had outlined several steps in the new budget to enhance its own revenue by 20 per cent. In this regard, the minister mentioned levying of tax on swimming pools, farm houses and luxury vehicles. Defending substantial addition in non-development expenditure of CM Secretariat, Kamran attributed 87 per cent of increase to pay raise given to government servants working in the secretariat. Clarifying governments position regarding rejection of foreign aid, the finance minister told the house that the decision will apply only on the foreign assistance which compromised national sovereignty and integrity, and the one which had strings attached to it. The remainder part of ministers speech was a mere reproduction of his previous budget speech made on June 10.