KARACHI: The budget estimates for the current revenue expenditure of energy ministry are estimated at Rs16.1 billion, including Rs15bn for clearance of outstanding liabilities of electricity dues of various government departments pertaining to the electricity distribution companies such as K-Electric, Hyderabad Electric Supply Company and Sukkur Electric Power Company.

The annual development programme for the energy ministry is pitched at Rs3bn for financial year 2017-18. With these funds, documents show, the energy ministry has taken various initiatives to increase energy output through renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

Rs454 million has been earmarked for the electrification of 285 primary facilities situated in Thar, Benazirabad, Umerkot, Sanghar, Kashmore and Qambar districts through 352 solar PV schemes.

Besides, provision of 231 domestic biogas plants to potential users in Mirpurkhas, Badin, Sanghar, and rural areas of Karachi has been planned for the coming fiscal.

The documents say the Sindh renewable energy development project assisted by the World Bank for Rs13bn will be rolled out in 2017-18. In this project, it is said, the share of the government is kept at Rs2.6bn.

Moreover, off-grid village electrification urban rooftop PV and solar PV demonstration power plant will be established and Rs500m will be provided for the project.

The documents claim that the dream of the flagship pilot project of Sindh Engro Coal Mining and Power Project in Thar is ‘near reality’. For Thar Coal Project Rs13.75m has been earmarked for the next fiscal.

Thar coal project at Block-II is on schedule and the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company has removed 35pc overburden from the coal mine.

“The company is now working to expand the coal mine to 22 MTPA and will generate 2,600MW by the year 2021.”

To support Thar coal infrastructure, a new four-lane bridge over the Indus has been completed in 18 months near Thatta and Sujawal. Some major initiatives that are near completion in the Thar region, the government says, are construction of Rs16.5bn road network for the movement of heavy machinery from Thatta to Thar coalfields. A Rs6.7bn effluent and mine water disposal system is also near completion. Besides, schemes are there for provision of water to power plants at Thar from the Left Bank Outfall Drain for Rs845.59m and construction of an airport at Islamkot for Rs1.5bn.

To mitigate power shortages of Karachi the government has secured 20 million standard cubic feet gas per day for the newly established Sindh Nooriabad Power Company Ltd, which is providing 100MW to Karachi, as a 132kV double-circuit from Nooriabad to Karachi has been laid at a cost of Rs1.95bn.

Allocations for transport

The current revenue expenditure of the transport ministry has been increased by a whopping 85 per cent to Rs335.8 million in the next financial year as against Rs181.7m in the current year, budget documents show.

Rs2bn has been kept for a transport leasing (two years) project which aims to provide locally assembled passenger buses to existing transporters through Sindh Modaraba.

The ADP for the next fiscal is pitched at Rs3.2bn. Some Rs1.5bn has been kept on the construction of the BRTS Orange Line project. Besides, Integrated Intelligence Transportation System for Karachi has been introduced with an allocation of Rs506.7m.

Local government allocations

A massive 265pc increase is witnessed in the local government funds for the next year as compared to the current fiscal. For next year, Rs7.8bn has been allocated, which was just 2.1bn during the current fiscal.

Grant-in-aid for the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board has been kept at Rs5.3bn, while for industries’ budget, Rs1.6bn has been allocated for the development management committees to carry out development and rehabilitation of infrastructure.

The development budget for the next fiscal is pitched at Rs28.7bn, which is 38.6pc more than Rs20.7bn of this fiscal.

Rs12bn has been allocated for mega projects for Karachi: Rs5bn has been earmarked for K-IV, of which Rs2.5bn has been provided this year and the remaining funds are allocated for next fiscal.

Rs1bn has been earmarked to procure fire brigade tractors and trolleys for town and municipal committees in Sindh.

Grant to local bodies for new fiscal has been increased from Rs60bn to Rs66bn (10pc).

A phenomenal 1,937pc growth is witnessed in the allocation for housing and town planning, which has been increased from just 79.5m to Rs1.62bn.

Works, services

The current revenue expenditure of works and services has been increased by 7pc in the Sindh budget to Rs15.4 billion in the next financial year as against Rs14.4bn in the current fiscal.

The maintenance and repairs for roads and buildings is pitched at Rs10.3bn, which has an increase of four per cent as against the budget allocation of Rs9.9bn in the current fiscal.

The ADP for the next fiscal is pitched at Rs26bn, which is an increase of 85.7pc over the ADP of Rs14bn of the current year. It includes Rs25.7bn for the road sector, which is increased by 15pc against the current fiscal.

In addition, Rs9.2bn has been allocated for foreign-funded projects. Rs935.4m has been kept for dualisation of the Hyderabad to Tando Mohammad Khan road.

Besides, for Sindh Provincial Road Improvement Project (covering 338 kilometres) Rs400m has been allocated.

Published in Dawn, June 6th, 2017

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