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Sindh’s fiscal state shaky due to drop in federal revenue transfers: CM


May 8, 2019

The financial condition of Sindh is precarious because of the decline in federal revenue transfers, and this has badly affected the development portfolio of the provincial government, said the chief minister on Tuesday.

CM Syed Murad Ali Shah said this during two meetings that he presided over to devise a strategy for the next development budget. He held a meeting with the finance and planning & development (P&D) departments, and another with the irrigation and works departments.

Shah said that for the next financial year, stress will be laid on completing the projects already under way. “We may hardly include a few new schemes, otherwise our focus will be on the completion of the ongoing development works.”

He said his focus in the next budget will be on completing water supply, sanitation and school development projects. He directed the P&D department to conduct a survey to assess the impact of the development of road networks, bridges over the Indus River and hospitals on the people’s lives.

“We must know what we have already done and what we still have to do in order to create conveniences for the people of Sindh.”

The chief executive said Sindh’s Annual Development Programme (ADP) during the current financial year was Rs230 billion, against which expenditures up to the end of April had been recorded at Rs72.88 billion. He added that this utilisation would go up to Rs130 billion to Rs140 billion by the end of June.

He said the road network had an allocation of Rs56.6 billion, against which they had utilised Rs27.8 billion, and the irrigation sector had utilised Rs17.8 billion against their allocation of Rs35.8 billion.

He added that water and sanitation had an allocation of Rs42.5 billion, but they had utilised Rs6.5 billion, and the health and education departments had utilised Rs4.3 billion and Rs5.9 billion against the allocation of Rs15.8 billion each.

Shah said the declining trend of using development funds is reported for two different reasons: the first is less release due to the financial crunch and the other is the reluctance of the officers. “We have tried our best to develop confidence among the officers so they can utilise the available funds.”

Works Minister Syed Nasir Shah told the meeting that 326 road projects of Rs25.8 billion were launched, for which Rs21.4 billion were released, and the expenditures were recorded at Rs16.8 billion. He said that out of 109 schemes, 70 would be completed in Hyderabad and Sukkur regions.

He requested that the next ADP of the works & services department be increased by 40 per cent. However, the CM told him that it was not possible. “I would try to increase your next year’s ADP to some extent, otherwise funds would be allocated only for the completion of ongoing schemes.”

Sindh P&D Board Chairperson Naheed Shah told the meeting that the second draft of the next year’s ADP from different departments had been received and would be studied as per the financial allocation. They would be finalised with the approval of the CM.

The irrigation department proposed constructing long canal embankments and dock bungalows, but the CM said they would be approved if the financial position of the government was improved.