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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the newly elected representatives of the local bodies have taken over; therefore he has decided to announce the next Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) for the vertical distribution of available resources.

“We have started spade work to design the next PFC and it will be finalized within a month.” This he said while talking to media just after performing the concluding ceremony of the three-day Urs of Abdullah Shah Ghazi at his Mazar on Tuesday.

Replying to a question, the CM said that the cabinet had decided to announce the PFC award within a month of the formation of local bodies. “Now the elected representatives of the local bodies have taken over and we are going to form the commission and then the commission decides the formula of the award,” he said and added that his government would financially strengthen the third tier of the government.

It may be noted that the PFC ascertains the share of available resources between provincial and local bodies, generally known as vertical distribution. It also formulates a criterion for the distribution of allocated funds to local government horizontally among different tiers and local councils. This mechanism of distribution is known as Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) Award.

To another question, the chief minister said that the digitalization of the salaries of the KMC and some other local bodies' employees has unearthed a large number of employees who were drawing double salaries – from KMC and another provincial department. “This is a crime and punishable under the law,” he said and added his government has decided to dismiss such employees after fulfilling the legal requirements. Shah said that similar pension cases have also been found which were being scrutinized and would be dealt with accordingly.

Yet to another question, Murad Ali Shah said that he has not received official figures of the digital census. “When I’ll receive them officially, I will be able to comment,” he said. Giving an oblique reference to MQM, Shah added that through a press conference on January 27, 2023, they (MQM) had expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the digital census. “They told the media that they have formed committees to facilitate the people to get them registered but it was me who had questioned the methodology of the census,” he said.

Murad Ali Shah said that despite his requests they [MQM] boycotted the local bodies' elections and now in order to satisfy their frustration they were leveling baseless allegations against his government and trying to take the credit for the achievement they never achieved. He added that it was election stunts and let them play with the galleries.

The CM said that the province of Sindh was producing 70 percent gas of the country and as per the constitution our people have the foremost right to use it. “I have been fighting the case of Sindh with the successive prime minister and with the grace of God has achieved something for the people of my province,” he said.

Shah said that the Nooriabad Power plant has been providing 100 MW of cheap electricity to Karachi since its commission. “it is an irony that the power plant which operates to its maximum capacity for the last five and providing uninterrupted electricity to the city but even then I am facing NAB case from the last four years,” he deplored but such vendetta of serving the people would not stop him and his party from serving the people of the province.

The chief minister, replying to a question, said that the bandits in the Katcha area have become a challenge. “Since we have posted good officers, the dacoits have reacted,” he said and added once the highway robbers were on the rise and no highway of the province was safe to travel. Shah said that the Sindh government crushed the robbers and made the highways safe and now strict measures were being taken to eliminate the dacoits operating from the Katcha area.

The CM said that Karachi was declared as 156th most dangerous city in the world but we restored law and order to protect life and property of the people of this city. “It is a track record of the PPP government that it has restored the writ of the government by eliminating the terrorists, target killers, extortionists, and kidnappers for ransom. Similarly, the issue of the dacoits would be resolved with iron hands.

To a question, Murad Ali Shah said that in Dubai no consensus was made on the premiership of Shahbaz Sharif. He added that in the forthcoming general election, PPP would emerge as the single largest party in the country and Bilawal Bhutto would be elected as the next prime minister.

Earlier, the chief minister performed the concluding ceremony of the three-day Urs of Abdullah Shah Ghazi by laying chadar and a floral wreath on the Mazar. He distributed clothes among deserving women.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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