The federal government has slashed the development budget allocated to Science and Technology in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) by 44 per cent.
The government has cut the allocations for Science and Technology by Rs1.172 billion in the mini-budget passed by the National Assembly.
As many as 10 new projects of Science and Technology Ministry in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for Fiscal Year 2018-19 out of the total 11 projects have been dropped.
The dropped projects include upgradation of National University of Science and Technology’s (NUSTG) laboratory as per international standard. A research project of the Ministry costing Rs 200 million was also dropped.
The government has also shelved the NEUTECH University project and dropped it from the PSDP. The Model Science School project costing Rs 100 million has also been dropped. Besides, Pa-Korea Solar Testing project has also got an axe from in the mini-budget.
Out of the axed projects include a programme for groundwater management. With the fresh cut in the mini-budget on PSDP allocations of the Ministry, the allocations for Ministry of Science and Technology have dipped to less than one per cent of the GDP.
The budget was slashed despite the Senate’s Standing Committee on Science and Technology recommendations to increase budgetary allocations for Science and Technology to 4 per cent of the GDP. The Standing Committee has made the recommendation recently with a view to promoting scientific research in the country.
The National Assembly on Wednesday passed the Finance Supplementary (Amendment) Bill 2018, generally known as minibudget. The government re-imposed a ban on tax nonfilers from purchasing properties and vehicles.
The finance minister during his speech to wind up the budget debate announced that the government had decided to reduce the regulatory duty on import of LNG (liquefied natural gas) from 30 per cent to 10pc in order to provide relief to the poor.
He said the government had launched a campaign against non-filers and tax evaders and notices had been issued to about 169 such people. “The number will increase to thousands in the coming days,” the minister said, appealing to the rich and well-to-do people to pay taxes.
“There is still time, come within the tax net. No one will be spared. This state is not so weak that it cannot catch you,” the minister warned, assuring the nation that their money would be spent on them and it would not be stashed in foreign banks or in purchasing properties abroad.
Mr Umar disclosed that the government was seeking information from banks about those having huge bank accounts and a discussion in this regard had already been held with the State Bank of Pakistan.