Sindh’s population as per UNICEF’s survey stood 61.04M as oppose to Census 2017 figure, Murad Shah 

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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the faulty census of 2017 has shown 47.8 million population of the province whereas its population, as per UNICEF survey, stands at 61.04 million. “If the population of the province is counted at 61.04 million, the share of the province in the national resources would go up from about 24 percent to 29 percent”. 

He briefed the media about controversy of census, conflict with federal government and over economic situation here at CM House on Wednesday.

Census:

Murad Ali Shah said that the census of 2017 was conducted after 19 years, but again it became controversial forth with its declaration of its provisional results. He added that the census, being part of Federal legislative list Part-II, was dealt by Council of Common Interests.

Sindh objections rejected, Federal Govt accepted 2017 Census Results

Mr Shah said that during PML-N government the provisional results of census- 2017 were declared which invited wide criticism. “Almost all the chief ministers, including of the Punjab had criticized its results,” he said and added that therefore the election of 2018 were held under the census of 1998 for which the PML-N government took all the parties, including PPP in Sindh and PTI in KPK in confidence.

Recalling the CCI meetings, Mr Shah said that it was decided that one percent of census blocks would be verified.  A similar suggestion had also been given from the Senate and the senators had also prepared a document but the federal government in CCI had vowed to verify five percent of the blocks.

The CM said that in the last CCI meeting held in the tenure of PML-N government on May 27, 2018 the Statistics Division told that they could not vary five percent of the blocks, therefore it was decided to refer the matter to the parliament.

The chief minister disclosed that in the Census 2017 it has been said that Sindh has a total 8,478,047 households with 5.64 persons per house which constituted a population of 47,854,510.

“As per Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey undertaken by all the provincials governments in coordination with Unicef the average household for Sindh is 7.2 persons per household,” he said and added based on the Unicef survey the total population of Sindh would come to 61,041,938 as opposed to 47,854,510 in Census 2017.”

Mr Shah said that the census 2017 said that KPK has 8.03 persons living in a household and it has a total of 3,801,046 households, therefore its population came to 30,508,920. As per Unicef survey the KPK has 7.6 persons per household, therefore its population would be 28,887,950. Punjab has 16,999,685 households with 6.47 persons per household and their population as per census comes to 109,989,655 whereas the Unicef survey says it has 6.3 persons per household. It means its population would be 107,098,016.

The chief minister said that the provincial cabinet has been authorized to refer the matter of census passed by the CCI with majority vote to the parliament.

Economy

Murad Ali Shah said that the growth of our national economy has been projected at 1.3 to 1.5 percent and the reason behind the low projection was stated to be pandemic.

“As a matter of fact, the average growth of the South Asian region is five percent during the on-going COVID situation which shows where our economy stands,” he deplored. He said that unemployment was on the rise and our inflation rate was in double digits.

“Our federal government on the advice of the IMF keeps changing the existing law and recently they have changed NEPRA  law under which power tariff would be increased by Rs5.25 in June this year and then every year a similar increase would be made.

“The federal government, without foreseeing the consequences and its effects on the economy and the people, has changed existing laws, therefore people have been deprived of their purchasing power,” he said and added the companies were laying off their employees and the same situation was being faced by the media.

Imports and Remittances

“Our imports are growing much higher than thee exports, therefore our trade deficit keeps on the increasing and the current account deficit which had been improved because of the foreign remittances our Pakistanis working abroad had sent back [to Pakistan],” Murad Ali Shah said and added that the sharp increase in remittances was witnessed because of downturn in economies abroad and they had laid off people in a large numbers and the people of Pakistan working abroad had received retiring benefits and sent the same back to Pakistan which improved our current account position but this was not long lasting, he said.

“This year our fiscal deficit which we used to target at three to four percent in the past has reached over eight percent compared to our GDP. Our debt, the federal government has borrowed is about 90 percent of the GDP which is against the fiscal discipline law which allows only 60 percent. During PML-N tenure the federal government debt had reached 62 percent and we had made hue and cry in the NEC,” – he recalled.

“The issues in the economic growth erupts due to one or the other reason but there are certain ways to steer the country out of situation,” he said and added in 2008 the PPP was in the federal government the economic conditions were very bad, there was international recension and the oil price had also soared.

“Our government had managed and looked after the poor people by controlling price and had also increased the salaries of government employees by over 100 percent,” he recalled and added the PPP stood with the poor people and now the PTI government has given up, therefore people are suffering.

The chief minister said that the PTI government under the pretext of autonomy has taken the state bank out of its control. “Autonomous state bank is very good but autonomy doesn’t mean that neither it is responsible to the government nor to the parliament,” he said.

Murad Ali Shah said that at this pandemic situation, the other countries were giving interest free loans to their people and giving them different reliefs such as  tax exemption but contrary to the Pakistan government, on the instructions of the  IMF has withdrawn Rs140 billion tax exemptions through an ordinance. “This would affect our trade badly,” he said.

Mr Shah said that the prime minister was saying that his finance minister was the best minister but after four days he was removed with a charge sheet.

“Now it is not clear whether the current finance minister is working on his own or someone else is behind him,” he said and demanded that the federal government renounce its deal with the IMF.

TLP sit-in:

The chief minister talking about the sit-in staged by the TLP in Sindh said the federal government had informed the provincial police late night that sit-ins were taking place.

“I told the police not to allow anybody to close any area. “We had offered them designated areas for peaceful protests but they preferred to block the main road,” he said and added that sit-in were staged at 26, of them 24 have been cleared.

He disclosed that five people died in protest, 18 were injured, including 12 policemen.

Hospital:

Talking about three hospitals- JPMC, NICVD and NICH, the chief minister said that the prime minister was supportive to have these hospitals controlled under the provincial government.

He said that the prime minister has always said that the provincial govt should run the hospitals. “I acknowledge the Prime Minister,” he said and added the prime minister has deputed his special assistant Dr Faisal Sultan to resolve the issue.

“Dr Faisal is supportive and understands the situation and we are making a way out to continue the control of hospitals under the provincial government.

CM was accompanied by provincial ministers Nasir Shah, Taimur Talpur and Murtaza Wahab at the press conference.