LAHORE - Provincial Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht said on Saturday that present Punjab govt is concentrating to ensure equal distribution of resources and development all across the province especially giving an end to deprivation of South Punjab.

He was giving an overview of the performance and future economic strategy at a function regarding 100-Day Plan of Punjab government here at Aiwan-e-Iqbal. Prime Minister Imran Khan, Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar also addressed the event, while Punjab Governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, provincial cabinet members, MNAs, MPAs and people from various walks of life were present. Provincial Finance Minister mentioned that last government had deprived the Southern Punjab districts of Rs 265 billion developments funding under Annual Development Programme (ADP) by spending this hefty amount on other projects and in other parts of the province. PTI government inherited Rs 1140 billion debt from the previous regime, which also left unpaid cheques worth Rs 56.1 billion of the contractors of various projects and they filed over 145 cases against the state for clearance of their dues. The last government did not take pity even on the public sector employees by depleting their provident funds of Rs 102 billion, besides running into Rs 41.3 billion overdrafts. Hashim Jawan said that PTI provincial government is giving a new administrative setup for South Punjab, which would have separate ADP with no re-appropriation under which South Punjab ADP would be spent on South Punjab only, and Special Package for this part of the province has already been announced. Key steps towards economic prosperity in first 100 days of the provincial government included formulation of new Industrial Policy, Labour Policy and Agriculture Policy and enhancing the Education and Health sectors budget up to Rs 28 billion and Rs 21 billion respectively, he maintained.

Punjab Finance Minister disclosed that Punjab Growth Strategy for next five years would be launched in January 2019, adding that by fiscal year 2022-23, 10 million people would be pulled out of poverty and our job creation would be 60 percent of the national share. In next five years, he added, incumbent government has the strategy to increase provincial ADP from the existing Rs 238 billion to Rs 1000 billion having a major chunk for the local governments to ensure development at grass roots level. PTI government is the first government taking the issue of ‘ease of doing business’ seriously and taking effective measures in this direction, he said, citing that a one-window operation would be ensured to facilitate the investors and industrialists as they would find all the departments at one place for resolving their problems.