Murad holds preliminary meeting for 2018-19 budget


KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah presided a meeting on Thursday regarding the preparation of the next budget for the financial year 2018-19 and gave guidelines to his team to control non-development expenditures and increase allocations in social sector such as education and health and water schemes so they could be completed well in time.

The first budget preparatory meeting was held at CM House which was attended by Chairman Planning & Development Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, secretary finance and other experts.

The chief minister was told that during 2016-17, the total provincial receipts, including SRB (GST on Services), Tax excluding GST and non-tax were Rs166.033 bn. In 2016-17 the provincial receipts rose Rs159.294 billion in the same heads and during 2017-18 the estimated amount is expected to be Rs199.627 and receipts of first seven months would be around Rs100 billion.

The meeting was informed that during the current financial year, 2974 schemes, including 2158 on-going and 816 new are in progress against an amount of Rs244 billion, including Rs39.884 million revenue.

The provincial government with the personal interest and intervention has released 60 percent of the allocated amount which comes to Rs146.388 billion which itself is a record while the 50 percent of the released amount of Rs72.485 billion has been utilized.

The chief minister said that the pace of most of the development works is better than the last year but it must be monitored so that quality could also be maintained.

The chief minister said that the health department is showing some progress, particularly in the hospitals which have been out-sourced, therefore this policy must be strengthened and more health units may be outsourced in the next financial year.

The chief minister said that his leadership has urged him to work out special programmes for women, youth and for poverty alleviation. Therefore, he gave guidelines to his team and said that plans may be designed accordingly for the next budget.

Giving his priorities, the chief minister said that our focus would be on education, health, water and sanitation and agriculture. He added that next year, he would give special focus to improvement and development sector.

Since it is a preliminary meeting, only a rough sketch for the next budget is being discussed, and more similar meetings would be held at least thrice in a month, he concluded.