Budget of the Province
“The members of the Balochistan Advisory Council will, of course, be nominated but let me assure you, gentlemen, that it will not be a nominal body. It will have the power to advise the Governor-General on any matter which in its opinion is connected with the good of the Province. Similarly, the Governor-General will refer to any matter which may come before him through the Chief Commissioner for the opinion and advice of the council. The Budget of the Province, for instance, will be checked and scrutinized first by the Advisory Council in all its details and it will be free to submit its recommendations to the Governor-General.”
- Mr. Jinnah / Quaid-e-Azam
- Speech: New Era of Progress for Balochistan
- Context: Speech at Sibi Durbar
Designing the state machinery and effective structure is key in building a government that is responsive to the needs of the people. A special Balochistan Advisory Council was created by Mr. Jinnah and this council directly collaborated with the Governor-General or, in modern times, the premier of the country. The intent and spirit was to build a truly representative body, inclusive of all tribes and ethnicities, and establish direct lines of communication with the leading authority of Pakistan.
Lagging provinces need accelerated reforms and expedited structural changes to create conditions for progress. The Balochistan Advisory Council had effective authority to evaluate the budget of the province. We must continue with this exercise where the true representatives of Balochistan are able to review and modify discretionary capital allocation for the progress of their province.
Balochistan has Rs. 84.7Bn deficit in its 2021-2022 budget and more prosperous provinces ought to shoulder Balochistan’s burden to pave way for progress. While it is in the nature of people to be debt averse, the question of whether rapid credit/debt growth is a good thing or a bad thing hinges on what that credit produces and how the debt is repaid. Key is to use borrowed money productively enough to generate sufficient income to service the debt. If that occurs, the resources will have been well allocated and both the lender and the borrower will benefit economically.
For borrowed money to be used productively, it is necessary to allocate a high percentage towards human capital development in terms of education and health. The 2021-2022 provincial budget does exactly that where 15.5% of the budget is allocated to education and 10.6% to health.
Debt burdens have to be spread out over multiple years and the debt servicing cost is “socialized” (i.e. borne by the society as a whole via fiscal and/or monetary policies). To reduce the timeline of debt repayment, it is critical for emerging economies to invest in alternative vocational education bootcamps that can train people and rapidly proliferate financial, digital, numerical and business literacy so that in a matter of <4 years, the Baloch people can start generating revenue and uplifting the economy. Our national vision is to rethink education and accelerate the time it takes for individuals to start a job or business such that they start earning money for themselves, their families and for society as a whole.
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