Budget being reprioritized to ensure both development, flood relief: PM

ISLAMABAD, Oct 6 (APP): Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Wednesday assured National Assembly that the government is re-prioritizing federal budget to ensure execution of development projects as well as relief and rehabilitation of flood-devastated areas simultaneously. “We are re-prioritizing the budget. This had been the demand of all four provinces to tilt funds towards flood affected areas. But in the meantime, besides flood relief, we will have to continue public sector development projects,” said the Prime Minister responding to a point raised by the Opposition Leader Chadhry Nisar Ali Khan, that followed the token walk out by the opposition from the House.

Gilani said the government has not awaited international aid as it did have no idea whether aid would come through government system or would be spent through their own NGOs.He said through re-prioritization of our budget, the government has started disbursement of Rs 20,000 to each affected family that would be followed by payment of Rs 80,000 to these 20 million affected people to help them reconstruct their houses.“It would cost more or less Rs 350 billion. But our finance team is re-prioritizing the budget to ensure that reconstruction work is not impeded till the influx of foreign aid,” he told the House.
Prime Minister Gilani said as winter has approached in hill stations and is about to start in other areas, it is a must to provide flood-affected people with cash grant for reconstruction of their houses.  “The government is committed to provide shelter to 20 million flood-affected people. For the very reason, we are cautiously re-prioritizing the budget as a first priority,” he assured.

Regarding adoption of resolution by Balochistan Assembly, Gilani said during 63 years, it is for the first time that Balochsitan issues are being given attention for what Aghaz-e Huqook-e Balochistan has also been announced.Gilani said law and order is a provincial subject however, for the federal subject, he had sought guidelines form Balochistan-based MNA, also former corps.commander and governor of the province Abdul Qadir Baloch as to how the issue can be resolved, in a meeting with him on the very day.As far as chief minister is concerned he wanted us to convene ECNEC meeting but it would be difficult at the moment as both finance and foreign ministers have left for Brussels to hold talks with IMF.
However, he said so far, the government has not yet slashed the provincial budgets because the provinces are supposed to cut their expenditures by their own.

“After 18th amendment, there is paradigm shift in resources as those have been shifted to provinces. However, the government would ensure as the share of Balochistan would not be lesser than that of other provinces,” he added.Regarding funding of ERRA is concerned, Prime Minister Gilani said he had discussed the issues of earthquake-hit areas with Prime Minister, President and Chief Secretary AJK in a meeting some two hours ago and hoped that the matter would be resolved once the finance minister is back to Pakistan.He informed the House that the government had allocated Rs 11 billion for ERRA to execute development projects in quake-hit areas that has been doubled to Rs 22 billion. Out of the total budget, he said Rs 5 billion would be released during the current week whereas ten percent of the budget has already been released.Gilani viewed that practical work in quake-hit areas was started by the current government, though the disaster hit the region in 2005.Responding to Nisar Ali Khan’s demand form trialing Pervez Musharraf under Article 6, Prime Minister said he should be left on his own – App