The government of Punjab is soon going to end the subsidy on the Metro Bus Service, following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s orders.
The latest development came earlier this week when PM Khan disagreed with it while heading a parliamentary party’s meeting.
Khan said the Rs. 12 billion subsidies on the mega transit project are unfair when the masses are deprived of basic health facilities.
He urged that the taxpayers’ money should be spent on welfare projects instead of subsidies for political mileage.
The removal of this subsidy will reflect on the bus fares which are expected to see an Rs. 10 increase per ticket.
While there’s no official announcement as to when the government is going to withdraw this concession, some believe it will be done after the Financial Bill 2019 is passed later this month, while others see it happening after the Eid.
This means that around 331,000 passengers, who travel by metro buses in Lahore, Rawalpindi, and Multan every day, will now have to pay more than the current fare – Rs. 20 – so that the burden on the national exchequer is reduced.
PTI government’s stance, in principle, has always been against the provision of unnecessary subsidies as they call it ‘a burden on the economy.’
A similar move was announced in October last year, three months after PTI came into power.
The announcement faced heavy criticism from the public and the political opponents, compelling the government to delay it indefinitely.
But it seems inevitable as the $6 billion IMF bailout is in the air and the government has vowed to increase its revenue and cut on expenses (subsidies, government expenditures, etc.) to minimize the budget deficit.