KARACHI: The revenue shortfall of the Sindh government has soared to Rs120 billion during the fiscal year 2018-19 as the federal government has so far released only Rs406bn from the divisible pool against the province’s share of Rs526bn.
This was stated by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah while presiding over a meeting of the provincial cabinet on Thursday.
The shortfall, he said, was affecting the provincial government’s development efforts, adding that if the province’s revenue position did not improve it would not be able to meet its salary expenditures.
Held at the New Sindh Secretariat, the meeting was attended by the provincial ministers, advisers to the chief minister, Chief Secretary Syed Mumtaz Ali Shah and other senior officials. Besides considering the 14-item agenda, the cabinet directed the chief secretary to device a mechanism for keeping a strict check on prices through deputy commissioners.
The meeting, which also discussed the budget strategy for the fiscal year 2019-20, was informed by the chief minister that the revenue transfers from the federal divisible pool, straight transfers and grants constituted 78 per cent of gross provincial revenues. But, he added, during the current financial year only Rs406bn had so far been transferred to the province from the divisible pool against its actual share of Rs526bn.
Out of province’s share of Rs526bn in divisible pool, Centre has so far released only Rs406bn, Murad tells cabinet
The cabinet approved a grant of Rs10 million, two jobs and one plot as compensation for the family of deceased police constable Farooq. The constable was deployed as a guard of Mufti Taqi Usmani and killed in an attack on March 22. Farooq was the breadwinner of a big family. Three of his seven children are blind.
It approved a grant of Rs1,500,000 as compensation for the heirs of three labourers — Waheed Gul, Raees Khan and Arbab Gul — who were killed in an attack in Naudero on Feb 13.
The cabinet also gave approval to the compensation of Rs77.5m per annum for 471 affected families of the Thar Coalfield Block-II and 757 families of the Gorano project.
The cabinet referred the time scale demands of the All Pakistan Clerk Association (APCA) and upgrade of computer operators, data entry operators and data processing operators to its committee.
Purchase price of sugarcane
The cabinet approved minimum purchase price of sugarcane for crushing season 2018-19 at Rs182 per 40kg.
It also approved amendment to the Sindh Advisers (Appointments, Powers, Functions, Salaries, Allowances and Privileges) Act, 2003, under which the chief minister would appoint advisers as provided under clause (II) of Article 130 of the Constitution and referred the matter to the provincial assembly.
The cabinet approved enactment of ‘The Sindh Explosive Act, 2019’ in which punishment for causing explosion likely to endanger life or property, punishment for attempt to cause explosion, or for making or keeping explosive with intent to endanger life or property, punishment for making or possessing explosives under suspicious circumstances, powers to make rules as to licensing of the manufacture, possession, use, sale, transport, import and export of explosives, etc, have been defined. The bill was referred to the assembly and the home secretary was directed by the cabinet to frame the rules.
The cabinet on the recommendation of the home department delegated the powers of granting B-Class to convicted prisoners under Rule 245 of Pakistan Prisoners Rules, 1978, to the home secretary.
Earlier, these powers were with the chief minister.
The chief minister with the approval of the cabinet also delegated the powers of granting temporary parole to convicted prisoners to attend marriage ceremony of blood relatives under Rule 223-A of the Pakistan Prison Rules, 1987. These powers were also with the chief minister.
The Sindh cabinet approved transfer of some pieces of land acquired for the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company for coal mining, construction of electricity power plant and allied facilities for the same purpose.
The chief minister constituted a cabinet committee to identify lands in Karachi and other district headquarters of the province for graveyards for Muslims and non-Muslims and recommend it to the government/cabinet for allotment within a month.
The cabinet approved a proposal of Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani to identify ways and means to accommodate shopkeepers whose shops had been bulldozed under anti-encroachment drives.
After the cabinet meeting, chief minister’s adviser Murtaza Wahab briefed the media about the decisions taken at the cabinet meeting.
Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2019