Sindh not anymore corrupt than other provinces are, says Sindh CM


-Sindh’s revenue collection much more than federal government
-Federal government depriving Sindh of Rs173 billion when tallied to Rs665 billion that was promised, says Murad
-Facts, figures depict clearly that opposition given ample time to discuss budget yet they continue complaining

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday said that the amount recovered by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in a plea bargain and voluntary return from other provinces was much higher than the amount recovered from Sindh, but still Sindh was being branded as the most corrupt province in the country, which he said was deplorable.

He was delivering a concluding debate on the budget the Sindh Assembly.

Shah started his speech with a verse of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai saying, “May Allah make Sindh prosper first and then make the entire world prosperous.” He said that he won’t mind if he was criticised but he would never allow criticism of his motherland, Sindh.

He said that he was the 121st member of the assembly who was participating in the budget debate within the last 45 to 46 hours.

Shah said that Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has 99 members, out of whom 62 members have participated spoke for around 20 hours. Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has 30 members, out of whom 99 per cent have participated in the debate. Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM) has 23 members, out of whom 19 members participated which showed a 90 per cent participation. Out of 14 Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) members, 10 have participated in the debate.  Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) has three members and two of them participated. “This shows that the opposition has been given ample time to discuss the budget yet they are still complaining of not being allowed to speak,” he added.

“Similarly, in the National Assembly (NA) 40 per cent discussions have been related to the budget. PTI has 126 members and they have been allowed to speak for 18 hours, the PML- N has 84 members out of whom 30 per cent were allowed to speak” he further added.

He said that in the Punjab Assembly, only 26 per cent members were allowed to participate in the budget discussion, while in the KP Assembly 30 per cent members spoke and in Balochistan over 14 per cent members participated in the debate on the budget. “This is ample proof our democratic approach to accommodate the opposition in the debate,” he said.

Responding to the questions raised by the Leader of Opposition, Shah said that in the beginning of their tenure, the federal government had informed the Sindh government that it would be given Rs665 billion. However, in June, they disclosed that they would give the province only Rs632 billion and now they have come down to a mere Rs492 billion. “This shows a shortfall of Rs173 billion if the actual figures of Rs665 billion are taken into account,” he said while adding that the federal government still owed Sindh Rs126 billion from before.

“The overall collection that is overdue from the federal government stands at Rs4.15 trillion,” he told.

“The federal government had promised to give Sindh Rs200 billion more than it has in the current financial year but I don’t see this promise materialising at all. I request the federal government to achieve the recoveries target because it is in the benefit of all provinces,” said Murad.

Further, he said that during the financial year of 2017-18, the federal government had collected Rs3.27 trillion and this year it has collected Rs3.31 trillion. This shows an increase of only 1.2 per cent whereas, Sindh has shown an increase of over six percent in its revenue collection.

Shah said that Punjab has spent Rs126 billion of its Rs238 billion ADP while Sindh has utilised Rs110 billion against the releases of Rs130 billion. The size of its ADP was Rs252 billion in 2018-19 and the new ADP of 2019-20 has been made at Rs223 billion.

Shah said that he wanted to give government employees a 25 per cent increase in salaries but has settled with 15 per cent due to the financial crunch.

He told that he had enhanced operative expenditures budget from Rs102 billion in 2018-19 to Rs106 billion in 2019-20.

Talking about National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD), National Institute Of Child Health (NICH) and Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), the chief minister said that the Supreme Court (SC) said that the federal government would have to repay all the expenditures it had incurred on these hospitals from 2011 to the provincial government, which Murad said amounted to over Rs30 billion.

“This year the federal government has not allocated a single penny for these hospitals,” he stated while adding that his government has allocated Rs15 billion for the three hospitals and would also give a grant of Rs5.6 billion to SIUT and Rs6.5 billion to the Peoples Primary Healthcare Initiative (PPHI).

Talking about the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Shah said that he had approached the federal government of Nawaz Sharif to give Right of Way (RoW) for KCR, hand over KUTC and also give the same financial package to KCR as it had given to the Green Line in Lahore. The former prime minister had agreed but advised the provincial government to talk to the Ministry of Railway for an RoW.

He said that the provincial government has allocated Rs61 billion for different development schemes of Karachi while the federal government has allocated only Rs12 billion. This is the ownership the provincial government was giving to Karachi, the chief minister said. “We plan to establish a Red Line with the assistance of Asian Development Bank (ADB) at the cost of $561 million,” Shah concluded.