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Punjab Presents ‘Tax-Free’ Budget for 2024-25 with Emphasis on Development and Employee Benefits

LAHORE: Punjab Finance Minister Mian Mujtuba Shujaur Rehman presented the provincial ‘tax-free’ budget for the fiscal year 2024-25, totaling 5.44 trillion rupees, amid protests by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC).

The finance minister proposed a budget of Rs 5446 billion, featuring a surplus of Rs 630 billion. He announced the initiation of 77 new mega projects under the annual development program.

The Punjab government has proposed a salary increase of up to 25 percent for its employees and a 15 percent pension increase for retirees. A minimum wage of Rs 37,000 for workers has also been proposed.

Rehman stated that the total revenue collection is estimated at Rs 4643.4 billion, with Rs 3,683.10 billion expected to come from the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award.

Provincial receipts are estimated at Rs 960.30 billion, marking a 54 percent increase from the current fiscal year, for 2024-25.

The Punjab Revenue Authority (PRA) has been tasked with a revenue collection target of Rs 300 billion (25 percent higher than FY2023-24), the Board of Revenue Rs 105 billion (six percent higher), and the Excise Department Rs 57 billion (25 percent higher). Non-tax revenue collection is estimated at Rs 488.40 billion, which is 111 percent higher than FY 2023-24.

The finance minister described the budget as ‘tax-free, progressive, and pro-business,’ emphasizing that no new taxes were imposed and existing taxes were not increased.

Budget documents reveal allocations such as Rs 6 billion for the laptop scheme, Rs 5 billion for an endowment fund, Rs 268 billion for supplementary grants, Rs 26 billion for the supplementary budget statement of FY 2023-24, Rs 26 billion for agricultural equipment, and Rs 10 billion for the Kisan card.

The Punjab government also allocated Rs 30 billion for the CM green tractor program, Rs 80 billion for the CM district SGD program, Rs 2 billion for a livestock card, Rs 2 billion for the Himmat and Nighaban card, and Rs 26 billion for restructuring the education project.

Salaries, Pension, Minimum Wage Increases

The finance minister announced that Rs 603.1 billion will be spent on salaries and Rs 451.4 billion on pensions for FY 2024-25. Following the central government’s lead, Punjab proposed a salary increase of up to 25 percent for its employees and a 15 percent pension raise for retirees. The minimum wage for workers is proposed to be raised from Rs 32,000 to Rs 37,000.

Annual Development Programme

A record Rs 842 billion has been earmarked for development projects across the province under the annual development program. This budget is 28 percent higher than the previous year’s allocation of Rs 655 billion. Chief Minister Punjab Maryam Nawaz stated that although Rs 842 billion has been allocated, the actual development work will exceed one trillion. “Biggest ever annual development program (842 billion) which will cross 1 trillion Insha’Allah,” she posted on X.

Free Solar System Scheme

The finance minister announced a Rs 9.5 billion allocation for the Chief Minister Roshan Gharana Programme, aimed at providing relief to residents affected by high power bills. In the first phase, free solar systems will be provided to those consuming up to 100 units of electricity.

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