KARACHI (June 14): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that “We are facing a shortfall of Rs82 billion in federal transfers, therefore our entire budgetary commitments have been affected badly.”
The growth shown in the national economy by the federal government was an eye wash- had the economy had shown the growth the federal government would have not revised its allocations.
This he said on Monday while addressing a crowded press conference here at CM House. He was flanked by provincial ministers, Ismail Rahu, Imtiaz Shaikh and Nasir Shah.
Revenue collection and transfer of funds
Mr Shah said that the majority of taxes were collected by the federal government and then they transfer the share to the provincial governments as per agreed formula.
The federal government claims that the national economy has shown growth, he said and added that had the economy been showing the growth the FBR targets would have not been revised.
“The FBR had a target of Rs4.89 trillion collection but they failed and then the government revised the target to Rs4.71 trillion,” he said.
The CM said that the FBR has shown a growth of 17 percent during the last three years, but the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) has shown a growth of 21 percent. “Our growth rate is four percent higher than the FBR,” he said and added he was criticizing the performance of the FBR because their failure to achieve the targets affected the provincial share in the revenue.
Murad Ali Shah said that the Sindh government was told that it would be given Rs742 billion from divisible pool and straight transfers and we had framed our budget accordingly.
At the end of day, the federal government revised Sindh government share from Rs742 billion to Rs680 billion that caused a Rs62 billion shortfall just in revision. He added that during the last 11 months, the Sindh government has received 82.5 billion short of its share.
Public Sector Development Programme
Talking about the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), the chief minister said that Sindh was given those projects which were not required. “In 2020-21 PSDP the federal government had allocated Rs9.7 billion for different schemes in Sindh but they could utilize only Rs500 million,” he said and added that the provincial government was not consulted when its projects were included in PSDP.
He said that the development projects were always conceived on the ground, but the federal government was giving projects directly and executing them through Pak PWD. “These direct projects would not be in duplication but would cause corruption,” he said.
Mr Shah said that the federal government was alleging that the provincial government had no capacity to implement development projects, therefore they [fed govt] were directly implementing the project.
“I want to remind you the detractors that the Sindh government has constructed highways such as Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas Road, Karachi-Thatta and various others on PPP mode and has also constructed bridges on River Indus.
The chief minister criticizing the federal government said that instead of reviving the steel mill it was closing it. “You are laying off all those employees who were appointed by the PPP government,” he said.
Murad Ali Shah said that Sindh was facing gas shortage which was also a violation of Article 158 of the constitution.
“The constitution under article 158 gives priority to the people of the area from where gas is produced but this is not happening here,” he said.
Chief Minister said whenever he has talked about the issues of the province he is accused of playing Sindh card. He said that being chief executive of the province it was his duty to protect the rights of the people of the province. Mr Shah said Hydel profits were given to the KPK and he had always been supporting it because it was constitutional but “when we talk about our rights, we are accused of promoting provincialism,” he was surprised and termed it double standard and said that Sindh has been slaughtered economically.
Giving an oblique reference of Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry’s press conference in which he had strongly criticized the Sindh police, the chief minister said he had no right to make mockery of the policemen who sacrificed their lives in the line of their duty and restored law and order in the city.
He said that during the last three years 81 policemen, including 45 in Karachi, 36 in Sukkur and Hyderabad regions have laid their lives in line with their duty. “It is the Sindh police which have fought against outlaws, terrorists, dacoits, land mafia and drug mafia and restored law and order in the province, particularly in the city,” he said and added Karachi was 7th most dangerous city in the crime index of the world and now it has come down to 198th.
“This the performance of the Sindh police and you [Fawad Ch] are trying to demoralize the police,” he said and added “you [Fawad Ch.] had hurt the families of police `shuhada’ by denying their sacrifice. The police in collaboration with rangers and other agencies have shown a commendable performance which must be lauded, he said.
Karachi development schemes
Replying to a question about Karachi declared as least livable city, Mr Shah said that the resources of the provincial government were meager.
“We have to invest in water, solid waste, road sector, drainage, and other sectors hugely,” he said and added for the purpose the federal government and international donor agencies would have to support the Sindh government.
Murad Ali Shah said that Public investments on development projects in the city have been scaled-up since the last 5 years (2015 to 2020) focusing on infrastructure and human development.
“Overall security and investment environment has been improved significantly,” he said and added the Sindh government has initiated various development programs and projects for Karachi, which were at various stages of implementation.
Some of the important projects he recalled include $98 million Karachi Neighborhood Improvement for enhancing public spaces in targeted neighborhoods; improve urban roads infrastructure and improve Ease of Doing Business.
Mr Shah said that the Project was under execution. He said Competitive and Livability City of Karachi (CLICK) was a $ 240 million fund for institutional strengthening & infrastructure financing of Local Councils in the city. Under the project overhaul of Urban Immovable Property Tax and also supporting Ease of Doing Business was underway.
Mr Shah said that the $105 million Karachi Water Supply & Sanitation Improvement Project (KWSSIP) has been launched to focus on long-term strengthening of the KWSB through multiple reforms. The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) Yellow Line; US$ 438 million project is another mega transport intervention for the city. The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) RED Line; project has been approved for $561 million and would soon be put into execution as one of the main transport corridors in the city.
In the next financial year about $438 million would be budgeted for various development projects for Karachi in Annual Development Program 2021-22 in order to provide a robust living standard for people of Karachi City.
Operation in katcha areas:
Replying to a last question about a cleanup operation against bandits in the Katcha area, Murad Ali Shah said that the supply line of the dacoits have been cut off. “The katcha area where dacoits have established their hideout is connected with Shikarpur, Sukkur, Larkana, Ghotki, Khairpur and with Punjab and Balochistan,” he said and added with the support of other province the police with the support of Rangers and other law enforcement agencies would launch a comprehensive and vigorous operation to eliminate the dacoits.
This is developing story