Rs5trn collected from Centre, provincial resources: Rs2.6trn spent on pays and pensions of govt employees in 5 years
KARACHI: The Opposition continued its criticism but the chief minister painted a rosy picture of his uplift work in the province during the Sindh Assembly session on Saturday.
The house resumed its post-budget debate, as the opposition slammed the government for underdevelopment and rising street crimes, and complained that their uplift schemes were ignored in the fiscal plan.
However, Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah, claimed that his rule carried out uplift work and allocated huge funds for the province development.
He said that the province produced a “record” wheat crop this year since there were fears about waterlogging in fields after the floods.
“About 80 percent relief Sindh government provided,” he said.
The Sindh government convinced the World Bank to provide $ 500 million aid to rehabilitate the flood-hit houses and schools structure. He said that the reconstruction of 2.1 million houses and 20,000 schools structure needs Rs 660 billion.
He claimed that his government through “unprecedented” works brightened Sindh image worldwide.
Over Rs 5 trillion, he said his government had received over the past five years, of which Rs 2.6 trillion were paid in salaries, retirement benefits and pensions of government employees.
About Rs 909 billion spent in the education sector with the government’s grants as well and Rs 700 billion in health sector, he told the legislature, saying that the ministers are also getting treatments from the state-run hospitals.
Besides, he said, the government provided the NICVD with Rs 26 billion and SIUT with Rs 42 billion funds. He said that his rule spent Rs840 billion on development schemes.
In the next fiscal budget, he said, a Rs 100 billion fund has been marked for uplift schemes in Karachi. He said that work on the K-IV water project is underway.
“Peoples party has carried uplift work everywhere,” he claimed and said that Karachi has outgrown demographically from the era of 1947. Karachi is a new city while Sindh’s civilization spans for thousands of years, he added.
“This is our city and our province,” he asserted and apologised that if his expression had hurt anyone’s feelings. In past decades, he said that a person, without naming one, had created an atmosphere of fear in Karachi.
“Now, I see the difference,” he said and informed the house that the federal government is following the development of Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway since the Sindh government cannot afford its construction through its resources.
MQM’s Muhammad Hussain said: “When we migrated then people of Sindh welcomed us.” He said that the MQM advocates for everyone’s rights in this city.
Not a single drop of water has been added to the city existing quota in the past 15 years, he added.
“Karachi’s water need stands for 1700 MGD while it receives 400 MGD,” he informed the house, saying that the city’s commissioner and his deputy are “incompetent” allowing food inflation to grow though huge jobs.
GDA’s Nand Kumar Goklani said the government has never included his party’s uplift schemes in any of the budgets. “Only 33 percent of the budget was spent, which is sad,” he added.
Budget allocations for the education sector was increased but the academic growth could not happen, he said and added that 111 people were kidnapped over the past sux months.
He said that the public is unable to find drinking water in Sindh, he said that Sanghar District also needs an NICVD facility, besides electricity and jobs for the public. He thanked the government for approving a university for Sanghar.
MQM’s Parliamentary leader, Rana Ansar said that the patients throng more to the Civil and Jinnah Hospitals for treatment, seeking the government’s attention for increased medical facilities.
A proposed medical college building in Hyderabad stands abandoned, she said and asked about its process. She appreciated the government for Abdul Qadir Shah Jeelani Institute Gambat, saying that such academic facilities should be built across the province.
Sindh Health Minister Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho said that her department’s budget is Rs 227 billion, 12 percent of the total fiscal allocations.
“We want to provide primary healthcare facilities,” she added.
The healthcare budget of Rs 128.5 billion is marked for Karachi alone, she said that the allocations for medical education were increased by 18 percent. The budget spending for medicine stands for Rs 8 billion.
The government is going to spend Rs 345 million on child health, she told the house that some $ 200 million of loan will also be spent on different schemes. The budget allocations also enshrine schemes for TB, hepatitis, and HIV aids, she said.
Sindh Labor Minister, Saeed Ghani said that the government has fixed Rs 33,750 per month salary as minimum wage, which will be approved.
Progress on Benazir Labor Cards is under way, which he said, will bring a revolution.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023