Sindh govt presents Rs1 trillion budget

  • Provincial government is to spend amount of around Rs320 million on projects with the federal’s assistance

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of the finance minister, on Monday, presented the budget of Rs1.043 trillion for the fiscal year 2017-18 in the Sindh Assembly.

Before the provincial assembly session, the provincial cabinet met to accord approval to budgetary estimates of the upcoming financial year and revised budget for the outgoing fiscal 2016-17.

“The task before is arduous…[but] we are armed with the vision of Shaheed Zulfikar Bhutto and BB,” he said prior to presenting figures, complaining that Sindh has been discriminated against by the federal government.

For the upcoming fiscal year, the outlay represents an increase of 20 per cent compared to previous fiscal year’s figure of 869.12 billion.

The budget deficit is expected at more than Rs14 billion for the upcoming fiscal year, Shah said. Total revenue is expected to see a 20.4 per cent increase at 1.028.8 trillion from previous fiscal year.

The amount allocated for the province under the Annual Development Plan is Rs244 billion, out of which Rs151.83bn has been allocated for 2,158 ongoing schemes. The chief minister said 816 new schemes are being introduced in the province, for which Rs92.163bn have been allocated.

The Sindh government has also proposed a 10 per cent increase in the salaries and pension of government employees, besides announcing the creation of over 46,000 new jobs. This is expected to include 14,000 vacancies to regularise the services of lady health workers and 10,000 new jobs in the police force.

The government has proposed a property tax for 120-yards houses and an entertainment tax on cinemas.

An amount of Rs92 billion has been earmarked for security-related costs.

The provincial budgetary estimates for non-development expenses are expected to be Rs665 billion, while the overall development budget will be around Rs346 billion.

As per its provincial share under the National Finance Commission Award, the government is likely to be allocated Rs 627 billion from the federal government, whereas it is likely to collect Rs200 billion under provincial taxes.

A sum of over Rs 42 billion, collected with foreign assistance, will be reserved for ongoing development projects of the province.

In the upcoming financial year, the Sindh government is to spend an amount of around Rs320 million on projects to be developed in the province with the centre’s assistance.

The ongoing Karachi development package in the next financial year is likely to contain 14 new projects for which a sum of Rs10 billion is likely to be allocated.