Punjab budget 2016-17: Main Features

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Punjab budget 2016-17: Main Features

LAHORE: (APP) Punjab budget 2016-17: Main Features

 

Following is the details and background of main salient features of Punjab Budget 2016-17 presented by Provincial Finance Minister Dr. Aisha Ghous Pasha in Punjab Assembly here Monday.

 

In the recent years, the focus of Pakistan's government has been on consolidation of macroeconomic fundamentals and reviving and maintaining the growth momentum. Despite many challenges; prudent fiscal measures and efficient use of available resources has helped the economy to move towards stabilization. Resultantly, there has been an improvement in the macroeconomic indicators.

 

The economy grew at 4.71 percent in FY 2015-16 which is the highest growth rate in the last eight years. The economy has shown resilience  and improvement, with decrease in inflation, increase in Foreign exchange reserves, stability in exchange rates and unprecedented rise in capital market indices.

 

Punjab is bestowed with tremendous resources in the shape of a large population, strategic location sharing borders with Pakistan's other three provinces, immense agricultural potential and quality infrastructure. Punjab government has an ambitious plan to spur economic growth by efficiently utilizing the resources available.

 

The government believes that equitable economic growth can only be achieved by diverting maximum resources to social sector including Education and Health, production sector comprising Agriculture, livestock etc., provision of quality public services, building world class infrastructure, generating employment opportunities and protecting the vulnerable and marginalized of the province.

 

The strategy for this accelerated economic growth and improved service delivery is people centric where the benefits of a strong economy must be felt by all.

 

In Financial Year 2015-16, Budget Estimate for General Revenue Receipts was estimated at Rs 1,144.558 billion. The revised estimate is at Rs 1,135.771 billion. The Provincial Consolidated Fund has been pitched at Rs 1,681.417 billion for the Financial Year 2016-17 as compared to Rs 1,447.242 billion for Financial Year 2015-16. For financial year 2016-17, General Revenue Receipts have been estimated at Rs 1,319.966 billion. This increase in estimates of General Revenue Receipts for Financial Year 2016-17 is mainly due to expected increase of 17% in the receipts from the Federal Divisible Pool.

 

The revenue collection by the Punjab government during Financial Year 2016-17 is estimated at Rs 280.055 billion as compared to RE 2015-16 of Rs 244.681 billion. For FY 2016-17, Provincial Tax Receipt has been estimated as Rs 184.436 billion which reflects an increase of 22% over RE of Rs 150.787 billion for FY 2015-16.

 

This is an astounding achievement considering that Federal Tax target has grown by 16.7%. The current revenue expenditure for Financial Year 2016-17 has been estimated to be at Rs 849.947 billion against the last year's allocation of Rs 753.011 billion.

 

Although, Punjab largely depends on federal transfers from the divisible pool for its expenditure plans, yet Punjab government was focusing on increasing its provincial revenues from its own sources as well as bringing in efficiency and plugging leakages in collections through better tax management and improving the monitoring mechanism.

 

As a result, taxpayers' facilitation and reducing the interface between the tax collectors and the tax payers have emerged as a priority areas of the provincial government.

 

In terms of provincial own receipts, Punjab Revenue Authority is the biggest revenue collecting agency for Punjab Government and sales tax on services has emerged as the most vibrant tax. It has shown a tremendous growth in tax collection since its inception in July 2012.

 

During 2015-16 there was a growth of 38% in the collection as compared to the collection of 2014-15. A land mark achievement in promoting a voluntary tax cultures was the introduction of RIMS during 2016-17 bringing 152 restaurants in its orbit. The restaurant goers are motivated to collect computerized receipt and win a variety of prizes in a transparent and IT based draw every month. Furthermore, a survey is being conducted to bring more tax payers into the tax net.

 

It is anticipated that PRA will show an increase of 20% during the FY 2016-17.

 

Excise & Taxation Department has notified expansion in rating areas and lowered the uniform tax rates from 20% to 5%. The manual records have been computerized (including GIS parameters) in the five City District Governments and Sialkot, while this exercise in medium and intermediate cities of Punjab will be carried out. The administrative procedures are also automated to generate automated billing and collection records. Now taxpayer can calculate property tax online.

 

In order to facilitate general public and taxpayers, Punjab government got Bank of Punjab declared as agent of State Bank of Pakistan in addition to National Bank of Pakistan for collection of Government receipts. The government further intends to include other major commercial banks in the net for the purpose. The pilot project of E-Stamp papers in Gujranwala has been launched in collaboration with Bank of Punjab for facilitation of tax payers. It will not only encourage a healthy competition of service provision between banks but also facilitate the taxpayers.