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June 20, 2019

Murad demands Rs 139.4 bn from Centre to pay salaries

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June 20, 2019

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said his province is yet to receive Rs 139.4 billion from the federal government in the last month of current fiscal year 2018-19 asking the Centre not to delay the payment of remaining dues as Sindh government needs the money to pay salaries and meet its other operating costs.

The Sindh CM gave these remarks in Sindh Assembly on Wednesday as the house continued to debate for the third consecutive day the new budget for financial year 2019-20. Shah informed the house that the province was supposed to get Rs 631.5 billion till 30th June, 2019 as federal transfers. So far we have received Rs 492 billion out of Rs 631.5 billion. “It has been a practice on the part of the federal government that it withholds the release of the funds in the last month of the fiscal year and they are released in July, August, or December of the new fiscal as arrears of last year.”

Please don’t do it this time as we needy this money now to pay salaries and meet our other operating costs,” he said. The Sindh CM said he would raise this issue of remaining sum of federal transfer of funds with the prime minister, federal finance adviser, and chairman of Federal Board of Revenue whenever he got the opportunity to meet or talk to them. He said the federal government should keep in mind that whatever revenue and taxes are collected by it, a share of 57.5 per cent of these federal collections belongs to the provinces. He said the provincial development suffers due to inefficient collection of taxes by the federal government. The CM said on 10th June he had received a letter from the federal government informing that the Sindh government would receive Rs 666.7 billion by 30th June from the centre. Later on when the new federal budget was unveiled on 11th June, this sum was revised down from Rs 666.7 billion to Rs 631.5 billion. “It is not just the case of Sindh government but the fiscal share of other provinces in the federal budget has also been curtailed affecting them equally,” he said. The CM said that in the first two days of general discussion on new provincial budget in Sindh Assembly, 42 lawmakers both from the treasury and opposition benches took part in the debate that is unprecedented as compared to other assemblies in the country. He said the situation in the National Assembly is quite disappointing as it could not commence the budgetary debate after passage of three days.

Shah also sought assistance of the lawmakers in the furtherance and success of the government’s polio immunization drive as 24 new polio cases have been reported from all over the country “Last year with the assistance of the legislators, we were able to bring down the number of police cases from 30 to just one in Sindh but now 24 new cases have been reported,” he said. He said the assistance of lawmakers is important as they represent areas of Karachi where parents are refusing polio drops to their children.

While taking part in the general discussion, Opposition legislator of MQM Pakistan Abdul Basit said the demand for creating new provinces would be raised whenever people are denied their due rights. He said there is nothing wrong in raising the demand for a new province. “If you are not assuming the responsibility then we will assume responsibility on our own, he said. He said accountability drive in the country has started as whosoever has plundered the province including the resources of Karachi would now meeting his end,

Opposition MPA of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Rabia Azfar Nizami said the Sindh CM had announced to launch the scheme of early childhood education but no academic standards were set. She said Sindh government also adopted the system of the Citizens Foundation but it lacks the ability to run it. She said 16 development schemes related to early childhood education existed since 2016 but there is no budgetary allocation to complete them. MPA of MQM Sadqat Hussain said the people of Karachi especially from Korangi are suffering due to acute shortage of potable water.

He said Sindh has made provision of education compulsory for children but there are only six government-run schools for 2,50,000 children in Korangi and only one govt hospital for three million people. The government has no right to rule if it could not provide our due share of budget. “We are justified to make the demand that undue occupation of Sindh should end,” the MQM’s legislator said.

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