LAHORE            -      Despite warning by the chair during the last session, both the Finance Minister and the Secretary were missing when proceedings of Punjab Assembly started on Monday afternoon.

Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Muhammad Mazari suspended the budget debate till arrival of representatives from the Finance Department.  Participating in the debate, PML-N’s Rana Muhammad Iqbal said that the budget was as per directions of the IMF and nothing was given to the government employees who had played their role in preparing the annual financial plan.

He said that the government had cut funds for building roads by 67 percent and had failed to execute any worthwhile project.

He said that the government was nowhere to be seen as every sector had been rendered ineffective with mafia controlling agriculture, sugar, flour, wheat, petrol and other commodities and sectors. He said that the government had failed to control inflation, failed to procure wheat, while no significant amount had been allocated for livestock and alleviate malnutrition.

PPP’s Syed Ali Haider Gilani said that in 2018 South Punjab province was promised in 100 days but after 600 days, only a secretariat was being established.

He said locust had wreaked havoc in South Punjab and therefore loans of the farmers affected by the locusts should be written off.

He said that a committee should be formed comprising MPAs of South Punjab to monitor utilization of funds allocated for the region. He sought increase in salaries of government employees by 10 percent at least.