KARACHI: As the Pakistan Peoples Party government is set to present its last budget in the first week of May, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said on Wednesday that the budget for 2018-19 would be limited to three months only and the next government could bring changes in view of its priorities after the general elections.
He, however, said that allocations for development and non-development expenditures, including salaries, would be made for the whole financial year in the budget, but the authentication to utilise it would only be given by the Sindh Assembly up to September.
The CM said this while talking to reporters after inaugurating the China-Pakistan Skilled and Technical Education International Conference here.
‘After elections, the next govt can make the budget for the remaining nine months as per its priorities’
Elaborating on the new budget strategy, he said there would be two parts of the budget, which he said would be presented in the Sindh Assembly on May 5.
The first part would be supplementary which deals with the expenditures of the current financial year.
“Normally, the assembly passes the grants and if the amount of the grants exceeds the approved budget the sitting government is responsible to get them approved from the assembly before the end of June,” the CM said, adding that his government would present the supplementary budget in the assembly.
“Similarly, we will allocate budget for the ongoing development schemes for the whole financial year 2018-19 so that the schemes could be completed, but again, the authentication for their utilisation will be made only for three months, up to September only,” he said.
The CM added that it would help the next government to make budgetary changes in accordance with its priorities.
Centre blamed for ignoring Sindh in next PSDP
Responding to a question about his walkout along with two other chief ministers from the meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), CM Shah said the NEC was a constitutional body and bound to advise the provincial and federal governments for balanced development based on regional equity.
He said that the federal government wanted to approve the new public sector development programme (PSDP) and for this it had played a “game” with smaller provinces, particularly with Sindh.
He explained that the federal government had allocated Rs15 billion for the National Highway Authority but earmarked a mere Rs4bn for Sindh. Similarly, he said, the water sector/irrigation had been given Rs27.5bn but the share of Sindh was restricted to just Rs300 million. The Higher Education Commission had 22 new schemes of Rs6bn and Sindh was given only Rs250m from them. A sum of Rs6bn was allocated for new schemes in which Sindh’s share was only Rs125m, he added.
The chief minister said that this showed that they had a plan to deprive smaller provinces in the new PSDP. He said he along with two other chief ministers [of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan] walked out from the meeting because of this injustice.
Earlier, speaking at the conference, the CM hoped that the moot would help different technical institutes of the province to work with leading Chinese Institutes as their partners.
“The CPEC and its projects are going to create employment opportunities. Therefore, there would be a dire need of skilled staff and specialists or experts to establish and run the new projects,” he said.
He added that our new generation must learn the Chinese language along with English language so that the gap of communication could be filled between the two nations.
New school campus
The chief minister also performed the groundbreaking of the new Convent of Jesus & Mary school.
Speaking on the occasion, he said he was feeling proud to be part of this ceremony since his leader Benazir Bhutto studied there.
He appreciated the efforts, hard work and dedication of Principal Sister Mary Langan, headmistress Sister Berchmans and their team for maintaining the standard of education.
The CM signed a memorandum of understanding for further cooperation in education, energy, oil and gas, textile, water filtration and pharmaceutical sectors with Vice Governor of St Petersburg Sergej N. Movchan.
A statement from the CM House said that the objective was to create business linkages to enhance bilateral trade leading to meaningful cooperation.
The CM said that in the emergence of a multipolar world and changing power configurations worldwide and also in the South Asian region, Pakistan’s close association with Russia was very important and cooperation between the two countries would bring prosperity to the entire region.
In the meeting, it was agreed that St Petersburg would provide technical assistance and technology in the treatment of waste water and desalination of seawater.
The chief minister also invited the Russian business community to invest in Thar coal mining and power generation.
He also added that Russians had expertise in ports and shipping sector and the Sindh government was interested to develop its Keti Bandar port.
Meanwhile, the CM told a UN delegation, led by Director Asia Pacific Regional Support Eamonn Murphy, that the provincial government had successfully controlled spread of HIV/AIDS among the people through effective awareness drives.
Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2018