KARACHI: Sindh’s budget for FY2018-19 was presented in Sindh Assembly on Thursday, with a total outlay of over Rs1.144 trillion.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of Finance Minister, presented the budget but authorised it for only three months.
The total income estimated this year was set at Rs1.123 trillion with an expected budget deficit of Rs20.45 billion, announced the chief minister.
During his speech, the chief minister informed that provincial budget focuses on improvement of health and education sectors while attention was also being paid towards infrastructure development of rural as well as urban areas.
Shah, in his budget speech, said the PPP government had set a strong precedent of presenting public friendly budgets during the past five years. He claimed that the budget for the first quarter of FY18-19 was focused on resolving the problems faced by the masses, with a 10 percent increase in the salaries and pensions of government employees.
The proposed budget allocates Rs282 billion to the Annual Development Programme (ADP) including Rs30 billion for district packages and Rs50 billion for new schemes to be introduced by the next government.
“In the current financial year we will complete a record 714 schemes,” said the chief minister, adding that last year too, the PPP-led provincial government had completed a record number of schemes.
Shah further announced that more than Rs95 billion was allocated to improve the law and order situation in the province. He stated that more than Rs306 million was allocated for Sindh Rangers.
In the speech, it was announced that the government had increased the budget for education sector with the allocation of Rs178.7 billion for non-development expenditures and Rs24.4 billion for development expenditures.
Over Rs24 billion was allocated to the health sector in the provincial budget, while more than Rs25 billion was allocated for construction of roads across the province. The budget dedicates Rs750 million to minorities.
Members of the opposition walked out of the assembly in protest during the chief minister’s budget speech.
Shah, who also serves as the province’s finance minister, announced that the Sindh government would not present a finance bill in the budget.
The chief minister claimed that an extensive development agenda was successfully completed by the provincial government. “We have entered the second phase of facing new challenges and competition,” he said.
“Terrorism had destroyed our resources and energies but now it has been eliminated.”
He said it would be a first that the mark of Rs200 billion rupees would be crossed. “Only last year, Rs111 billion was spent on development,” he said.
The Sindh chief minister said that the receipts from the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) were yet to be received by the Sindh government.
The budget was approved in a Sindh Cabinet session held earlier today. Shah had expressed ‘immense pride’ to present the sixth annual budget of the province. “We have tried our best to resolve the problems of people in Sindh,” he had said.
Last year, Shah had announced the budget with a total outlay of Rs1.04 trillion. The Sindh government had also proposed a ten percent in the salaries and pension of government employees, besides announcing the creation of over 46,000 new jobs.