Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid announced here on Tuesday that Punjab has adequate vaccine stock available for the next three days and the news of shortage are baseless. Chairing a meeting at the Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department, the Health Minister said that Punjab will start Astra Zenica vaccine for people below the age of 40 years of age to facilitate people intending to go abroad. The meeting was attended by Special Secretary P&SH Department and other senior officials. The Minister reviewed the vaccination process in the province and suggestions to increase the pace of the process. The Health Minister said, “We have adequate stock of vaccine available in Punjab. Deputy Commissioner Lahore has a stock of 25,000 doses available. All districts have enough stock available. From 16th June, people of below 40 years intending to go abroad may get themselves vaccinated with Astra Zenica. All Deputy Commissioners have been directed to administer Astra Zenica vaccine to people needing it. Through mobile vaccination unit, corona vaccine is being administered people at doorstep as well. Recently, more than 1.6 million doses were administered to districts. Punjab has 13,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine available. Pfizer will be administered to immune compromised people on priority basis. Punjab people must not worry about vaccine. In all THQ hospitals, vaccine is being administered 24/7. In Lahore vaccine is being administered through 57 mobile units camps. I am personally monitoring the vaccination process in Punjab. In the province, vaccine is being administered through 677 centers. Deputy Commissioners are making efforts to achieve the target of vaccination. The Federal Government is sending more vaccine to Punjab. Punjab has presented historical budget.”
Provincial Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht presented the provincial budget 2021-22 before assembly today for approval with a total volume of Rs. 2653 billion which is more than 18 percent as compared with the current budget. Rs. 560 billion is allocated for the development programme which is more than 66 percent as compared with the previous year. This huge 66 percent increase shows the success of the strong economic policies of the PTI government. Meanwhile, Rs. 189 billion is earmarked for south Punjab, being 34 percent of the ADP. It is important to note that a separate development programme has been chalked out for south Punjab which will ensure transparent utilization of funds. The ADP has been designed in accordance with the governmental priorities aiming at economic development, judicious distribution of resources and social sector development. RS. 205.50 billion is earmarked for social sector development comprising health and education. This amount is 110 percent more than the ongoing financial year. Similarly, Rs. 145.40 billion is proposed for infrastructure development which is 87 percent more than the current financial year. Along with it, Rs. 91.41 billion is proposed for a special programme. This amount is 92 percent higher as compared with the current financial year. The PTI government has allocated Rs. 57.90 billion for industries, agriculture, livestock, tourism and forestry etc to ensure economic growth. This amount is 234 percent higher than the ongoing financial year. It may be added here that the district development programme, universal health insurance programme, revamping of roads infrastructure, the establishment of mother and child healthcare hospitals, up-gradation of schools, special incentives for economic growth, development of the workforce, public housing schemes and environment and green Pakistan are some of the important outlines of development programmes. Meanwhile, an allocation of ten billion rupees is proposed for corona vaccination and an additional amount of ten billion rupees is also outlined for the promotion of economic activities and ease of doing business. The government has proposed to enhance the Punjab Ehsas Programme grant from Rs. 12 billion to 18 billion along with enhancement of minimum wage from Rs. 17500 to Rs. 20000. A ten percent increase has been proposed in salaries of government employees and a 25 percent special allowance will be given to employees that do not receive any additional incentives along with their salaries. It is satisfying that the Punjab government has decided to continue the tax relief in the next financial year for the development of business activities and a colossal tax relief of 50 billion is proposed in the next budget. The ratio of stamp duty under the head of taxes of the board of revenue will remain at one percent and this incentive of 40 billion will encourage new investment in the construction sector. The ratio of Punjab sales tax on more than 25 services was decreased from 16 percent to 5 percent in an ongoing financial year. This will also be continued in the next financial year.
The services include small hotels and guest houses, shadi halls, lawns, pindals and shamiana services and caterers, IT services, tour operators, gyms, property dealers, rent a car service, cable TV operators and treatment of leather and textile, commission agents of agri produce, auditing, accounting and tax consultancies services, photography and parking services etc. Similarly, it is also proposed to decrease sales tax from 16 percent to 5 percent on ten additional services in the next financial year including beauty parlours, fashion designers, home chefs, architects, laundries and dry cleaners, supply of machinery warehouses, dress designers and rental bulldozers etc. It is further proposed to decrease the tax ratio from 19.5 to 16 percent on call centres. During the current financial year, the tax ratio on cash payment to restaurants was16 percent while a 5 percent tax ratio was imposed through credit or debit cards payments. This helped in the documentation of the economy. A 5 percent tax ratio is proposed on payment through QR code and mobile wallet. Property tax can be deposited in two instalments in the next financial year to the excise and taxation department. It is proposed to limit the imposed surcharge penalty for property tax and motor vehicle tax to the last 2 quarters of the next financial year. Exemption up to 50 percent and 75 percent will be given in registration fee and token fee for encouraging sales and purchase of motor vehicles. The target of recovery of federal taxes is fixed at 5829 billion rupees and Punjab will be giving 1684 billion rupees under NFC award which will be more than 18 percent than the current financial year. The target of provincial duties and taxes is fixed at 405 billion which is 28 percent more than the current financial year. Meanwhile, the estimates of current expenditures are calculated at 1428 billion rupees.
Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid said here on Monday that Punjab has presented a historical and public friendly budget according to the needs of the people. The Health Minister said that the budget has been designed according to the needs of the public. Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar has won the hearts of the people with this great budget. The Health Minister said that the previous governments never quite provided relief to common man. She said, “The government has provided relief to the public by cutting down on its own expenses. The PTI government believes in spending public money on public welfare alone. The allocation of Rs. 370 billion for health is a great gift from Prime Minister Imran Khan. Government of the Punjab has provided Rs. 106 billion relief package for COVID-19. The development budget has been increased 182% with addition Rs. 96 billion compared to last year. An amount of Rs. 80 billion has been earmarked for Universal Health Insurance Program. The entire population of Punjab will be provided free of cost quality healthcare facilities. Under this program, more than 110 million population of Punjab shall be provided quality insurance. The Minister further said, “Development budget of Rs. 78 billion has been proposed for the Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Department. Children Hospital Paeds burn center, 1000-bedded General Hospital, 200 bedded Mother and Child Hospital Multan, and CT Scan machine installation at Nishter Hospital are among the key projects for the SH&ME Department. In Rajanpur, Layyah, Attock, Bahawalnagar and Sialkot, state of the art mother and child hospitals will be set up with Rs. 24 billion.” The Minister added that proposal of Rs. 19 billion development budget has been tabled for Primary and Secondary Healthcare Department. She said Rs. 6 billion will be spent on a special program for upgradation of 119 THQ hospitals and revamping. DHQs will be established in Chiniot, Hafizabad and Chakwal with a budget of Rs. 16.6 billion. An amount of Rs. 11 billion has been earmarked for preventive programs like HIV/AIDs, Hepatitis and similar diseases. The Health Minister further said that overall, 36 BHUs are being upgraded to RHCs. A special amount of Rs. 10 billion has been reserved for Corona vaccination of entire population of Punjab. An amount of Rs. 35.25 billion has been reserved for provision of medicines in hospitals. In 14 cities of the province, trauma centers are being set up with a cost of Rs. 3.5 billion in 14 cities.
The Punjab government has allocated budget of Rs. 370 billion for health sector and Rs. 96 billion for its development programme for FY 2021-21 which is 182 percent above the budget allocated for FY 2020-21. This was disclosed by Secretary Specialized Healthcare and Medical Education Barrister Nabeel Ahmad Awan here today after the Punjab Budget for FY 2021-22 was presented in the session of Punjab Assembly. He said that the budget of Rs. 78 billion has been allocated for next development projects of Specialized Healthcare Department. Five mother and child care hospitals will be constructed in Rajanpur, Layyah, Attock, Bahawalnagar and Sialkot with the joint collaboration of federal and provincial governments under ongoing projects, he added. Secretary health stated that Paeds Burn Centre in Children Hospital Lahore and 1000-bed hospital would be set up in Lahore during 2021-22 development programmes. Nabeel Awan said that ongoing projects of Specialized Healthcare including upgradation of DHQ hospitals in Gujranwala, Sahiwal and DG Khan districts, Institute of Urology Rawalpindi, Nishter Hospital Phase-II Multan, Rahim Yar Khan Hospital, Mother and Child Block Ganga Ram Hospital Lahore, upgradation of Radiology Unit, Services Hospital Lahore, DG Khan Institute of Cardiology and upgradation of bone marrow transplant unit Bahawal Victoria Hospital Bahawalpur would be executed after the budget was released for FY 2021-22. Secretary Health said that the Punjab government under the leadership of Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar has initiated a revolutionary project of universal health insurance worth Rs. 80 billion in the province. The Universal Health Insurance Programme has already been initiated in two divisions of Sahiwal and DG Khan. The health insurance facility will be extended to all citizens of province by the end of December 2021 which would benefit 110 million population of Punjab with free and quality healthcare facility in government and approved private hospitals, the secretary added.
Punjab government has decided to stop procurement of wheat across the province from June 15. According to details, the Punjab Food Department had set a target of 3.5 million metric tons which was achieved ahead of time and so far two lacs metric tons more wheat has been purchased. Senior & Punjab Food Minister Abdul Aleem Khan has directed the Department in this regard to officially stop the procurement of wheat from tomorrow and help the flour mills to procure wheat. He commended the officers and employees of the Punjab Food Department for their excellent performance in the wheat procurement drive, provision of proper facilities to the farmers at the procurement centers and success in achieving the target and expected similar performance from them in future also. Talking in this regard, Senior & Food Minister Punjab Abdul Aleem Khan said that according to the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, farmers in Punjab have been paid the best price for wheat and for the first time with an increase of Rs. 400 wheat was purchased at Rs. 1800 per maund. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan believes in the development of the country in the well being of the farmers and In Sha Allah next year the Punjab Government will provide more facilities to the farmers and also increase the price of wheat. He said that Punjab was providing one lakh metric tons of wheat to KPK province to meet their needs. Senior & Food Minister Abdul Aleem Khan said that flour mills across the province have already enough wheat and despite the availability of stock of wheat as required, the Food Department will provide full support to the flour mills in procurement of more wheat for them. He also asked the flour mills to keep their stocks complete and ensure self-reliance so that in future there would be no difficulty. Senior & Punjab Food Minister Abdul Aleem Khan said that Punjab Government has also abundant reserves of wheat and In Sha Allah will ensure the supply of quality wheat and flour to the citizens in any case.