Sindh CM presents Rs 1.217tr budget

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Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday presented the provincial budget with a total outlay of Rs 1.217 trillion for financial year 2019-20 amid strong protest by opposition members.

The budget brings a 15 percent increase in salaries and pensions across the board, while zero deficit has been shown in the budget.

In his budget speech, the chief minister said that the total receipts of the province for the financial year 2019-20 were estimated at Rs 1.218 trillion against an estimated expenditure of Rs 1.218 trillion. As the federal transfers, the province is expected to receive Rs 835.375 billion. Receipts from the federal government would account for 74% of the total receipts, he added.

“On the current revenue side, the expenditure budget is estimated at Rs 870.217 billion, which shows an increase of 12.5% over the current year’s allocation of Rs 773.237 billion. The 12% increase in expenditure is primarily in the employee-related expenses, which could not have been avoided. Similarly, the impact of increasing utilities has been absorbed,” he said. Murad said the development portfolio for next financial year was Rs 283.5 billion, which includes Rs 228 billion on account of provincial and district ADP. He said, “I would like to highlight the injustice meted out to our province in the federal PSDP. Overall size of the federal PSDP is Rs 951.0 billion with Rs 127 billion of Foreign Project Assistance (FPA). Out of the above portfolio, Sindh-specific schemes are 50 – both ongoing and new – with an allocation of Rs 33.7 billion. Further, total schemes included in the federal PSDP 2019-20, which are executed by the government of Sindh, are 12, having an allocation of Rs 4.89 billion as compared to Rs 15.0 billion in 2018-19 and Rs 27.3 billion in 2017-18. In terms of the Karachi portfolio, it may be recalled that the prime minister announced a package of Rs 162 billion for the city on March 30, 2019. There are only 19 Karachi-based schemes, with a total allocation of Rs 12.1 billion. The new schemes for Karachi are only six, with an allocation of Rs 3.9 billion.”

He said that the allocation for school education had been increased in the non-development budget from Rs 170.832 billion in year 2018-19 to Rs 178.618 billion in 2019-20, whereas, on the development side, Rs 15.15 billion had been allocated in the ADP 2019-20.

“The school education portfolio has been allocated Rs 15.15 billion for 279 schemes – 188 ongoing and 91 new schemes,” the CM said. Murad said the allocation for college education had also been increased in the non-development budget from Rs 15.777 billion in the year 2018-19 to Rs 18.094 billion in next financial year, whereas, on the development side, Rs 4 billion had been allocated in the ADP. “Major development initiatives in the College Education Department for ADP 2019-20 are: 17 new degree colleges are to be established in districts of Karachi (Korangi, Malir, West), Hyderabad, Umerkot, Sukkur, Jamshoro, Shikarpur, Jacobabad and in Sanghar.”

The chief minister said that the allocation for Universities & Boards Department had been increased in the non-development budget from Rs 9.529 billion in 2018-19 to Rs 10.585 billion in 2019-20.

“The current revenue expenditure of the Health Department, excluding medical education, has been significantly increased by 19% from Rs 96.8 billion in 2018-19 to Rs 114.4 billion in 2019-20,” he said.

He said that the allocation for law and order sector had been increased in the non-development budget from Rs 100.483 billion in 2018-19 billion to Rs 109.788 billion in 2019-20.

The Sindh government has allocated Rs 12.3 billion for Social Protection and Poverty Reduction programme in the development budget of 2019-20. Under this, there will be focus on three major interventions (i) Peoples Poverty Reduction Programme (PPRP), (ii) Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) and (iii) Social Protection.

He said the allocation for energy sector had been increased in non-development budget from Rs 23.883 billion in year 2018-19 to Rs 24.920 billion in 2019-20. “The allocation for irrigation sector has been increased in non-development budget from Rs 22.744 billion in 2018-19 to Rs 23.070 billion in 2019-20.”

He said that irrigation sector was being given Rs 22 billion in the ADP for 210 ongoing schemes and 63 new schemes.

“The Agriculture Department’s allocation for ADP 2019-20 is pitched at Rs 8.4 billion, which includes Rs 4.7 billion of foreign assistance, while the Forest & Wildlife Department gets an allocation of Rs 1 billion.”