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KARACHI: The Sindh government Tuesday presented Rs1.477 trillion budget for financial year 2021-22 with estimated deficit of Rs25.738 billion.

Sindh government didn’t introduce any new tax in the budget whereas it proposed 20 percent increase in the salaries of government employees and 10 percent raise in pensions. Provincial government also proposed the minimum wage at Rs25,000 against the existing Rs17,500, in the new fiscal year.

Terming it a ‘citizens budget,’ Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah amidst the uproar by opposition parties, announced that total budget outlay for Financial Year 2021-22 is estimated at Rs1.477 trillion against budget estimate of Rs1.241 trillion for current FY, showing overall increase of 19 percent.

Current expenditure of the province has been projected at Rs.1.14 trillion, which includes current revenue expenditure of Rs.1.089 trillion and current capital expenditure of Rs.59.49 billion in the budget. “This is 78% of total expenditure of the province and shows an increase of 14% over estimates of Rs.1 trillion for last year,” Shah said.

The CM highlighted that for the next financial year government tried to align development as well as non-development expenditure priorities in line with the post-Covid situation.

The development expenditure of the province in the budget has been proposed at Rs.329.032 billion, which include Rs.222.5 billion for Provincial ADP and Rs.30.0 billion for Districts ADP, foreign project assistance of Rs.71.16 billion and Rs.5.4 billion from Federal PSDP Grant for schemes being executed by Government of Sindh.

Murad said that in FY 2021-22, 1,033 schemes have been identified for completion in first and second quarter and maximum resources will be provided for their timely completion. On-Going schemes with remaining throw-forward up to Rs100 million have been fully funded for completion by June, 2022. On-Going Schemes where 70% expenditure is made have been fully funded for completion by June, 2022. Murad announced that total revenue of the province has been estimated at Rs1452.168 billion whereas the budget outlay was Rs1477.903 billion.

The Chief Minister said that a 20% increase had been proposed for the government employees and a 10% raise in pensions of retired government workers had been proposed. He said the minimum salary of the laborers would be increased from Rs17,500 to Rs25,000.

Chief minister said that health remains a priority sector and after advent of Covid-19, Government reprioritized its allocation and earmarked maximum resources in 2020-21 for prevention, isolation, and treatment for Covid-19; besides, significant resources were also spent containing and mitigating the economic damage due to job loss and business closure. For the next financial year, an allocation of Rs.172 billion is proposed as against an allocation of Rs.132.88 billion in 2020-21.

The budget for the education in next budget has been proposed Rs.277.5 billion against Rs.244.5 billion in the current fiscal.

The Chief Minister announced that as part of pro-poor and sustainable development measures, a social protection and economic sustainability package of Rs.30.9 billion has been proposed for the next financial year 2021-22.

Murad Shah announced that budget estimates for current revenue expenditure of Energy Department are estimated at 23.26 billion, which includes Rs.21 billion for clearance of outstanding liabilities of electricity dues of various government departments pertaining to DISCOs such as KE, Hesco and Sepco.

He said that In order to exploit on Thar coal potential, Sindh has requested federal Government to consider progressing on Kati Bandar Project and laying a railway line from Islamkot to Mirpurkhas for coal logistics. The two approaches are essential as industrial expansion in Thar is challenged by extreme weather conditions and water availability.

The Chief Minister said that during the current financial year Rs78 billion are earmarked for local councils in Sindh. For the next financial year allocation of Rs82 billion has been proposed.

He stated that Government of Sindh provided Rs4.02 billion as relief grant and for distribution of compensation to the victims of monsoon during CFY. For 2021-22, an allocation of Rs500 million has been kept for various relief measures.

Shah announced that the Finance Department is working on various Public Financial Management (PFM) and Public Sector Reforms with the assistance of donor partners, ie, the World Bank and European Union. PFM is a cross-cutting theme that can positively impact the fiscal discipline, public service delivery and economic development. Reforming this critical area has a gross positive impact on governance on multiple accounts.

Murad Ali Shah pointed out that actual transfers to Government of Sindh in a fiscal year always fall short of the estimates provided, as FBR falls short in collection of its set targets. The Federal Government is the major contributor to Sindh’s finances comprising of 72.5% in its entirety. It is a fact that these shares inevitably fall short of the estimates we provide every year.

As a result, our development expenditure has to be adjusted to offset the effect, Shah stated and desired to work in close coordination with the Federal Government in the larger interest of the people of Pakistan to overcome these issues. “We expect that the Federal Government would also support us in all our endeavors and help to come up with viable solutions to the issues being faced by Sindh,” he stated.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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