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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the financial position of the province is precarious because of decline in federal revenue transfer and this has badly affected the development portfolio of the provincial government. Because of the prevailing situation, in the next financial year “We may hardly include a few new schemes, otherwise the focus would be given to the completion of the ongoing development schemes”.

The CM said this while presiding over meetings of the finance, planning and development, irrigation and works departments to chalk out strategy for the next development budget.

Referring to the priorities, he said the focus would be on the completion of water supply, sanitation and school schemes.

He directed the P&D department to conduct a survey to assess and evaluate the impact of the development of road network, bridges on the Indus River and hospitals on the life of the people. “We must know what has been done and what we have to do to create convenience for the people of Sindh,” he said.

Mr Shah said that the provincial ADP during the current closing financial year was Rs230 billion against which expenditures by the end of April 2019 had been recorded at Rs72.88bn. This utilisation would go up to Rs130/140bn by the end of June, he said and added that the road network had an allocation of Rs56.6bn against which they had utilised Rs27.8bn.

Similarly, he said, the irrigation sector had utilised Rs17.8bn against their allocation of Rs35.8bn while the road and irrigation sectors had utilised Rs45.66bn which formed 64 per cent of their total expenditures.

The CM also pointed out that the water and sanitation had Rs42.5bn allocation but they utilised Rs6.5bn. The health department utilised Rs4.3bn against an allocation of Rs15.8bn and education utilised Rs5.9bn against an allocation of Rs15.8bn, he said.

No satisfactory response

Referring to the declining trend of utilisation of development funds, he said two reasons for it had been reported: the first one was less releases due to financial crunch and the other one was the reluctance of the officers. “We have tried our best to develop confidence among the officers so that they can utilise the available funds, but could not get a satisfactory response,” he said.

Minister for Works Syed Nasir Shah told the meeting that 326 road sector schemes of Rs25.8bn were launched against which Rs21.4bn was released and the expenditures were Rs16.8bn.

He said that of the 109 schemes 70 would be completed in Hyderabad and Sukkur regions. On his plea that the next ADP of the Works and Services Department may be increased by 40pc, the chief minister said that it was not possible. “I would try to increase your next year’s ADP to some extent, otherwise funds would be allocated only for the completion of the ongoing schemes,” he remarked.

Published in Dawn, May 8th, 2019