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May 7, 2017

‘Sindh awaiting NFC Award to prepare next fiscal budget’


May 7, 2017

CM inaugurates two-day event; congratulates organisers for helping

students make better decisions about their future

The Sindh Cabinet is waiting for the federal government to finalise the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award so that it could have an idea what share the province would receive from the Centre.

“Then we shall be in a good position to allocate funds for major sectors such as education and health as well as for other development projects in the next annual budget,” Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah told The News on Saturday after inaugurating The News Education Expo.

Education Minister Jam Mehtab Dahar was also present on the occasion. They were received by Jang Group’s Sarmad A Ali and Uzma Zia Rizvi.

The two-day exhibition is being held at the Expo Centre, where despite the harsh weather, a large number of participants visited over 70 stalls of local and international education institutions for career counselling.

The friendly environment provided an opportunity to young students to take selfies with CM Shah and the senior management of the Jang Group of Companies.

“For the past nine years, The News has been organising education exhibitions,” said Shah, “in which the locals and consultants of foreign higher education institutions set up stalls to guide students, who in the light of the information, can make better decision about their future. I congratulate the Jang Media Group for holding the event on a regular basis.”


NFC Award

The chief executive said the federal government had failed to finalise the NFC Award. “This can create problems for all the provinces in preparing their budgets.”

He said it would be difficult to share the figures to be allocated for the education and health sectors, but he hinted at his government’s wish to allocate at least 15 per cent more funds than the last year’s budget.

He hoped that the provincial government would be able to present its budget a week after the announcement of the federal budget. “We don’t need a lot of time to finalise our budget, as we have already been working on various budget proposals. If the Centre gives us our due share in the NFC Award, we shall easily perform the task. otherwise we would need to find other sources and resources to provide relief to the people.”


‘Lesser share’

“I think during the past 10 months, Sindh has received Rs67 billion less than its due share,” said Shah. He hoped the transfers of funds would be increased in the remaining two months of the current financial year to overcome the shortfall.

“The provincial governments can’t present their budgets before the federal budget. If the Centre presents its budget late, then ours would be delayed as well. It will be presented near the end of the month and passed during Ramazan.”


Gas issue

The CM reiterated his stance that the people of Sindh had the first right on gas because 70 per cent of the national gas production needs were met by the province. He added that he had written to the federal petroleum minister on the issue but was yet to hear from him.


Uplift schemes

The chief executive disagreed with a journalist that the progress of the ongoing development schemes was moving at a snail’s pace. “I usually visit the project sites without informing the media to check the pace and quality of works.”

He assured the people of Karachi that Sharea Faisal, the Natha Khan Underpass, University Road and various other uplift schemes would be completed by the end of next month.

On the subject of the K-IV water project, he said the scheme would be completed soon and its second phase would be started before the end of his government’s tenure.

He agreed with a journalist that the federal government was not releasing funds for the projects the Centre had started on its own or in collaboration with the provincial government, such as LBOD and K-IV. “I shall complete K-IV and some other mega projects even if I have to steal funds [from other projects].”


Cheating in exams

Shah said his government had launched a crackdown on the cheating mafia and its investigation was handed over to the Counter-Terrorism Department. He said AIG Sanaullah Abbasi had formed a two-member team to identify the culprits.

He added that Indian mobile phone SIMs were being used in leaking question papers for the ongoing examinations in the province. “All security agencies have been put on high alert after receiving this information.”

Meanwhile, citing the example of news reports aired at 9:29am that exam papers were leaked, he lamented that in their race to report breaking news, TV channels had foregone the principle of balanced reporting.

“The papers are distributed around 8:45am and the exam starts at 9am, so how is it possible for the paper to be leaked at 9:29am? This means that the paper might have been leaked after it was distributed. While this is not good news as well, but the reporting must be accurate.”

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