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June 7, 2017



Sindh has allocated over Rs70 billion for Karachi’s progress, says Murad

Sindh’s chief minister said on Tuesday that his provincial government had allocated more than Rs70 billion for Karachi’s progress in the next financial year’s budget, including Rs12 billion for the city’s mega development schemes.


Syed Murad Ali Shah disclosed this while addressing a news conference a day after he unveiled over Rs1 trillion deficit budget of the Sindh administration for the fiscal year 2017-18.

He was flanked by Information Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Planning & Development Minister Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, Excise & Taxation Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla, the finance secretary and other senior officials.

CM Shah, who holds the additional portfolio of the finance department, said he wanted to inform media about the total allocation of funds in the next budget for the city’s development because a section of the press had reported that there was no special allocation for the metropolis.

He said the 70-billion-rupee allocation included Rs15 billion for completing the Greater Karachi Bulk Water Supply Scheme (K-IV), Rs5 billion for K-IV’s land acquisition and Rs3 billion for the Greater Karachi Sewage Treatment Plan (S-III), which included the contribution of Rs1.5 billion each of the federal and provincial governments.

The major development schemes include the reconstruction and widening of roads from the Metropole intersection to Thatta as well as renovation of Sharea Faisal and National Highway, which will be completed by September, he added.

“Other development projects include the construction of an underpass at Submarine Chowrangi and a road from Fawara Chowk to Garden.”

The chief executive said that most of the 18 schemes commenced under the 10-billion-rupee Karachi package announced in the last budget would be completed this month and the rest of the projects by August.

The Sindh administration’s departments have spent Rs190 billion of the Rs225 billion allocated for the provincial and district annual development programmes in the financial year 2016-17, he added.

“In the next fiscal year the provincial government expects to get Rs627 billion from the federal administration, while the total development budget is Rs344 billion.”

He said the education sector would receive more than 20 per cent of the more than Rs1 trillion budget, while the salaries and pensions of government employees were increased by 15 per cent.

The budget for the CM’s Secretariat has been decreased from Rs2.2 billion to Rs562 million to cut non-development expenditures, and similar reductions will be made in other provincial government departments, he added.

Shah stressed on the need to increase property tax collection as well as to devolve the collection system to the local councils. He said the Indian city of Bangalore had one-third less population than that of Karachi, but collected Rs40 billion in property taxes compared to Karachi’s mere Rs1.7 billion.

He added that his government had increased the grant for the Sindh Institute of Urology & Transplantation and the National Institute for Cardiovascular Diseases.


8th NFC Award

The chief executive said that while the previous federal government of the Pakistan Peoples Party had announced the 7th National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, the current administration had failed to announce the 8th NFC Award.

He said the federal government had been causing unnecessary delays, even though the Sindh government had filed cases for devolution of power to provinces for collection of general sales tax on goods and also for special fiscal treatment for Karachi’s development.

He added that since the federal administration had revised its targets of revenue collection and budgetary allocations for provinces, the Sindh government was supposed to receive Rs108 billion this month as its due share from the Centre.

He admitted that the announcement of the Provincial Finance Commission Award should be made soon, saying that even without it the Sindh government had allocated Rs71 billion for local councils across the province.


Power companies

CM Shah lamented that the Sindh government had not been consulted on the affairs of the K-Electric, saying that only the federal administration had representation on the power utility’s board and the provincial government had no say in its management.

Similarly, the Sindh government was not consulted when the Shanghai Electric Power Company wanted to acquire the K-Electric, he added.

He said the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company and the Sukkur Electric Power Company had also made the lives of the people miserable with their “virtually zero performance”.

The two power utilities had issued electricity bills of Rs77 billion to the provincial administration, but after negotiations the companies had agreed to reconcile the amount to Rs27 billion, which had been paid, he added.

He accused the federal government of making the people of Sindh suffer prolonged power outages despite the fact that the province accounted for 70 per cent of the country’s energy production.

He said the Centre had been intimated and would be informed again that it would be quite difficult for the provincial government to control the people if they were force to take to the streets against load-shedding, adding that the provincial authorities would stand alongside the protesters.

“Sindh’s people are still braving 16 to 20 hours of load-shedding while the federal government claims of the highest production of electricity in the country.”

Either the claims of the federal administration are false or the federal authorities are deliberately making the people of Sindh suffer, said the chief executive.

In response to a question, Shah said his government had zero tolerance for corruption in governance affairs, adding that all the new recruitments in the provincial administration’s departments would be made on merit.

He said Sindh was the only province in the country to upload the details of the provincial budget on its website, adding that the information would be periodically updated because the provincial administration had nothing to hide.