Monday March 04, 2024

Sindh’s grievances will be addressed today, assures Dar

Funds amounting to $16.3 billion are required to execute the physical work like repair of damaged houses, says the minister

June 19, 2023
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar speaks in the National Assembly in Islamabad on June 19, 2023. — Radio Pakistan
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar speaks in the National Assembly in Islamabad on June 19, 2023. — Radio Pakistan

Following the Pakistan Peoples Party’s (PPP) criticism of the federal government for abandoning the flood victims in the budget 2023-24, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Monday assured that Sindh’s reservations about the rehabilitation of flood affectees will be addressed today.

Cracks appeared in the ruling coalition on June 17, when PPP Chairman and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari publicly criticised federal government for “not allocating” funds for the flood victims. Addressing a public gathering in Swat, Bilawal said no funds were allocated for the rehabilitation of 2022 flood victims in the 2023-24 federal budget.

Addressing the National Assembly today, the finance minister said that a comprehensive roadmap to carry out reconstruction and rehabilitation work in the flood-affected areas had almost been devised.

“Immediate relief work has already been done throughout the country with the disbursement of Rs25000 per family through the BISP programme. Almost Rs100 billion have already been spent in addition to the assistance extended by NDMA in kind,” he said while responding to the concerns of PPPP lawmaker Dr Nafisa Shah.

The finance minister said the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet had recently approved Rs12 billion to replenish the stock of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), keeping in view the predicted threats of the monsoon and the cyclone.

Following the widespread destruction caused by the heavy rains and floods, Dar said a comprehensive report had been prepared in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), European Union and the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives that suggested the economic and physical loses stood at around $30.3 billion.

He said funds amounting to $16.3 billion were required to execute the physical work like repair of damaged houses and infrastructure, under the "4RF" strategy (resilient, recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction).

In the General Donors Conference, the minister said less than $400 million were received while the pledges were made for bearing 50% financing for the reconstruction and rehabilitation work.

He said a committee, comprising Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and federal ministers including Khursheed Shah, Syed Naveed Qamar and Sherry Rehman, was holding meetings and the road map in this regard had almost been devised.

“It (the reconstruction & rehabilitation) will be like a 4-5 year medium-term development plan. It is not an issue and will be resolved as there are no two opinions. Roughly $11 billion, out of $16.3 billion will be spent in Sindh under the 4RF policy,” he said.

He assured the PPP lawmaker that "everything is under planning as work is going on it", so there was nothing to worry about. “The work is in progress and hopefully it will be concluded today.”

Commenting on another issue, he said originally the Charter of Democracy (CoD) was signed with the "code of conduct" that whosoever was elected to power, should not be backstabbed, adding afterwards civil-military relations, constitutional amendments as a result of which 18th, NFC award, legal reforms, truth & reconciliation commission. “I was in all that process.”

He said all things [included in the CoD] had been implemented except the Constitutional Code and the Truth & Reconciliation Commission.