Sindh unveils Rs2.2 trillion development-loaded budget
By News Desk
June 10, 2023 04:03 PM
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Saturday unveiled Rs2.244 trillion provincial budget with focus on development and rehabilitation of flood victims, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Delivering his speech at the floor of the Sindh Assembly, Murad Ali Shah said this was his 12th budget speech and he is presenting provincial assembly’s 59th budget. “This is a good budget though the province had faced numerous crises during the last five years,” he added.
Murad said Rs410 billion have been spared for the development in the Rs2.244 trillion budget, with a massive increase of Rs78 billion. Of them, Rs62 billion were for local bodies development budget. The health sector got Rs20 billion, he added.
The chief minister said the Sindh government has allocated Rs160 billion for the affectees of floods and rains.
Hike in salaries and pensions
The chief minister announced a salary hike of 35% for the Sindh government employees between grades 1 and 16 and 30% for the employees between grades 17 and 22. The pensions were also raised by 17.5 percent.
The federal government announced a similar increase in the salaries of federal government employees a day earlier.
Shah said the government has allocated funds for 1937 new projects.
The government has allocated Rs380 billion for the annual development program while the total development budget is estimated at Rs689 billion, Shah said.
A note in the budget documents explained that “in addition to regular ADP, Government of Sindh’s Development portfolio under Public Private Partnership mode stands at Rs. 487 billion whereby Projects of Rs. 60 billion have already been executed, Projects of Rs. 144 billion are presently at different stages of construction and Projects amounting to Rs. 283 billion are at the bidding stage.”
The chief minister elaborated that the revenue receipts include Rs1.823 trillion current revenue receipts, Rs36.133 billion current capital receipts and Rs295.3 billion other receipts.
In addition to the revenue receipts, Rs45 billion carryover cash balance, Rs10 billion net balance of the public accounts of the province, Rs5.58 trillion in receipts and Rs5.57 trillion in disbursements for the financial year 2023-24.
CM Murad further said that the current revenue receipts include a total of Rs1.35 trillion federal transfers in the form of Rs1.22 trillion revenue assignment, Rs64.42 billion straight transfers and grants to offset losses of the abolition of OZT estimated at Rs33.74 billion.
Moreover, Rs202.9 billion provincial tax receipts, Rs235 billion provincial sales tax, Rs32 billion provincial non-tax receipts, Rs6.133 billion current capital receipts, Rs30 billion bank borrowing with other receipts including Rs266.7 billion foreign project assistance (FPA), Rs22.9 billion other federal grants and Rs5.92 billion foreign grants.
Regarding the expenditures, CM Sindh said that revenue expenditures for the next financial year would be Rs1.41 trillion, capital expenditures will be around Rs136.26 billion, development expenditure will be Rs700.1 billion including provincial Annual Development Programme (ADP) excluding FPAs of Rs380.5, Rs266.7 billion, other federal grants of Rs22.91 billion and district ADP of Rs30 billion.
Law and order
The Sindh government decided to pay special attention to law and order in the budget and proposed to allocate Rs 160 billion for the purpose. Rs 2.79 billion have been allocated for fighting dacoits and Rs 130 million for forensic laboratory.
Rs12 billion has been proposed for mega projects in Karachi, Rs90 billion for the works services department, and Rs160 billion for rain and flood victims.
Rs 353 billion has been allocated for the Education Department. Its development budget is Rs 45.33 billion and Rs 308 billion for the non-development budget of education. About, 1500 lecturers will be appointed through the Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC).
About 23 new colleges will be established in different districts of the province for which Rs 403.3 million has been allocated in the budget, Rs 25 billion grant for public universities, and Rs 3 billion for the construction of flood-damaged schools.
CM Murad also announced an allocation of Rs63 billion to ensure a consistent supply of subsidised wheat to mills and affordable wheat flour to the public and a budgetary provision of Rs16.9 billion for the Poor Social Protection and Economic Sustainability Programme.
The chief minister said that the grant to local councils has been kept at Rs88 billion with an increase of 4.8%.
He further said that the transport budget has witnessed an impressive growth rate of 167.8% — rising from Rs5 billion to Rs13.4 billion.
Similarly, the allocation for energy has experienced a notable increase of 57.8%, reaching a total of Rs47.9 billion while the health budget climbed to Rs227.8 billion, denoting a 10.1% growth.
Green Line and Red Line
The chief minister also stated the bus rapid transit (BRT) project is being implemented at a cost of Rs2.36 billion. Meanwhile, the red line will have a development expenditure of Rs78.38 billion.
"Additionally, we are also spending Rs2.91 billion to improve the drainage along the corridor and more than 25,000 trees will be planted in addition to the landscaping works worth Rs63.4 million along the corridor," said the CM.
Sindh, which has one of the largest irrigation systems in the country, demands an extra funding due to losses it faced during floods. A significant amount of Rs25.703 billion has been kept in budget including Rs900 million for silt clearance, Rs5 billion for overall repair and maintenance of the system, and Rs750 million for the Salinity Control and Reclamation Program (SCARP).
The Women Development & Empowerment department has a budget of Rs705.983 million against last year’s allocation of Rs644.125 million.
The chief minister opened his speech shortly after 3pm with a couplet from Sindhi poetry. The budget speech was in the English language.
No lawmaker from the opposition PTI was in attendance. Several PTI MNAs have defected following a crackdown against the party over May 9 violence.
The CM took a jibe at the PTI saying some parties had been scattered like “houses of sand.”
Syed Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of Provincial Finance Minister, said he was presenting the 5th budget of the province in a row.