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Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah Tuesday said the federal government during last four months had to release Rs 278.4 billion against which the provincial government has received only Rs 169.2 billion which shows a shortfall of Rs109.17 billion.

"This is the position of vertical distribution of funds, therefore the provincial government is facing serious problems."

This he said while responding to questions of CPNE delegation led by its President Arif Nizami, called on him at CM House. Information Minister Saeed Ghani and Advisor to CM, Murtaza Wahab were also present on the occasion.

Responding to a question, the chief minister said that the federal government had to release Rs278.4 billion to Sindh government from July to October but they released only Rs169.2 billion.

"This shows a shortfall of Rs109.17 billion which is quite a big amount to upset our budgetary commitments," he said and added that there was Rs45 billion monthly salary bill of the provincial government. "When you face a shortfall of Rs109 billion how would you be able to meet your expenditures," he questioned.

The chief minister said that the federal government had to release Rs7 billion against royalty on oil and gas last year but today (Monday) they released that amount. "This is how the financial distribution is trickled down by crippling the financial positions of the provinces," he maintained.

Murad Ali said that he was heading a government of opposition in the country because in the center, Punjab and KPK the PTI was ruling and in Balochistan the PTI was in coalition. "It is only Sindh government which belongs to PPP which is in opposition in the center," he said and added that "it is not something unusual but issues crop up when constitutional responsibilities are not followed."

He said that the federal constitutional list has two parts - the one which was directly government by the federal government and the other one was government through CCI. "I am surprised that the prime minister was not convening CCI meeting for last one year - this is how the issues between Sindh and the federal government crop up," he said.

He added that railways, water issues and various other subjects were of under the CCI domain but it was an irony that the railways minister kept visiting railway tracks in the city but did not bother to interact with the provincial government.

The chief minister said that it was a wrong impression that he was not going to receive the prime minister whenever he visited Sindh. "The federal government always releases a detailed minute-to-minute schedule of the prime minister's visit, including the names of the people such as governor, chief minister, etc, and the place where they would receive him," he said and added that when the prime minister had undertaken his first visit to Karachi, his name was in the programme, therefore he received him and accompanied him to Mazar-e-Quaid and met him at the Governor's House. In the subsequent visits of the prime minister to Karachi my name was not reflected in the programme, therefore I did not go to receive him," he said.

Sindh chief minister said that he had written a number of letters to the prime minister but he did not respond any of them. "Yes, I talked to federal ministers on telephone but have never spoken anything with the prime minister on his phone," he said.

He brushed aside the impression of his differences with the Sindh governor. "No, we are on good terms and we keep meeting with each other," he said and added that he felt pitiful when the federal government ignoring the chief executive of the province made the Sindh governor in-charge of the development works proposed to be launched by the federal government in Karachi. "Here they are depriving the governor of his constitutional role," he said.

Shah said that the prime minister had vowed to give Rs162 million development package to Karachi but to this date the city has not received even Rs162.

The chief minister said that there were different institutions which had acquired Sindh government land for specific purpose but now they were constructing plaza there. "Pakistan Railways tops such institutions," he said and added that the railways ministry was not giving ROW to Sindh government for KCR and we would not allow them to develop it as ML-9, he said.

Talking about KMC, the chief minister said that his government has given Rs41 billion to KMC during last three years. "The provincial government has also undertaken various development works in the city, including reconstruction of roads and improvement of sewerage system," he said.

The chief minister said that the PPP's stance on `sit-in politics' was very clear. "To stage peaceful protests is the right of everyone but we do not believe in dislodging a government through sit-in," he said.

The chief minister said that Asif Zardari's health was deteriorating day by day because his personal doctors have no access to him. "Whenever we urged the Center to provide best health facilities to Asif Zardari, the prime minister says he would not give him NRO." He asked the prime minister if he was competent enough to give NRO to someone. "This is how the politics of hatred is being sown here," he deplored.

Replying to a question about Asad Umar, the chief minister said that he has lot of respect for the man and we both have worked together in private sector. "The way he was ousted unceremoniously was unprecedented for any leading political person," he maintained.

The chief minister said that whatever amount the Bahria Town has repaid to the court has not been given to Sindh government so far.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019