Sindh CM worried about Rs 119bn shortfall this year

Daily Times

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, presiding over a cabinet meeting on Thursday, said that the federal government, during nine and half months of the current financial year, had transferred Rs 406 billion against a share of Rs 526 billion; thereby making a shortfall of Rs 119 billion.
“This has badly affected the development endeavours of the provincial government,” he told the meeting, which was held on the 7th floor of the New Sindh Secretariat. The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Shah, provincial ministers, advisers and officers concerned.
As many as 14 items were on the agenda of the meeting, including confirmation of the minutes of the last cabinet meeting.
Murad Ali Shah told the cabinet members that revenue transfers from the federal divisible pool, straight transfers and grants constituted 78 percent of the gross provincial revenues.
He said that during the current financial year, the federal government had to transfer Rs 526 billion, against which it had released Rs 406 billion. “I am an optimistic person and hope that the federal revenue transfers would improve in the coming months; otherwise we would not be able to meet the expenditures of salaries of the provincial government.”
Meanwhile, Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister on Information, Law and Anti-corruption Barrister Murtaza Wahab said that after the inauguration of 660 megawatt power generation project in Thar, the Sindh cabinet had approved allotment of land for setting up five more power plants near Islamkot. He said the first tranche of compensation for 757 affected families of Gorano Dam had been approved in the cabinet, as each family would be provided Rs 100,000 a year. Briefing the media on the decisions made by the provincial cabinet in its meeting on Thursday, the adviser said the cabinet had discussed the budget strategy and the meeting was informed that during the fiscal year 2018-19, the province’s revenue shortfall under the head of the National Finance Commission and Octroi and Zila Tax (OZT) had soared to Rs 269, which was directly affecting the development agenda of the Sindh government. Criticising the federal government, the adviser said that the incompetent government of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) had made the lives of the common people miserable, as its policies had brought a tsunami of inflation. He said that economy of country was in an alarming condition, and added that debts burden on the country had soared to Rs 1.6 trillion in the last nine month. He said that Prime Minister Imran Khan, instead of concentrating on the economy, was using unpleasant and filthy language against his opponents. He said the Sindh cabinet had approved Rs 1 million each for the families of three victims belonging to Bajaur who were killed in an unfortunate incident in Larkana. He further said that Rs 20 million, one government job and one plot had been approved by the cabinet for the heirs of the police constable who embraced martyrdom in the attack on Mufti Taqi Usmani in Karachi. He said the Sindh government had fixed the rate of sugarcane at Rs 182 per 40kg for this season. He said the Sindh cabinet had approved the Sindh Explosive Act and referred it to the standing committee of the Sindh Assembly. He said that an amendment to the Sindh Advisers (Appointment, Powers, Functions, Salaries, Allowances & Privileges) Act, 2003, had been approved and referred to the Sindh Assembly. He said Murad Ali Sindh, under Clause (II) of Article 130 of the constitution, could appoint five advisers in his cabinet. He said that powers of parole and allotment of B-class facilities has been delegated to the home secretary. He said that Parole Law 1894 was in place since the British era, and used in case of any medical emergency to inmates or in the case of death of their relatives.
Wahab said that a committee had been set up, headed by minister for prices, to evolve mechanism for keeping check on prices. He said the PPP never demanded resignation of Fawad Chaudhry, but only wanted resignations of those federal ministers who had links with banned outfits. He said the PM had accepted the demand put forth by the PPP chairman and removed those ministers. He said the PM’s decision in this regard had fully vindicated vision and sagacity of PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Responding to a question, Wahab said the corruption reference in the Karachi Intermediate Board would be taken to its logical conclusion in a transparent manner. To another question, he said the Sindh government was well aware of the situation in Thar, and the Revenue Department had moved a summary for extending wheat facility to the people of Thar. He said a decision in this regard would be taken in the next cabinet meeting.

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