HYDERABAD: The ad­­viser to Sindh chief minister on universities and boards has said that having “excelled” in its financial management, the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET) ranks second among public sector universities of the country due to its transparency.

Presiding over the 39th meeting of the university’s senate in Jamshoro on Tuesday, Adviser Nisar Ahmed Khuhro expressed the hope that MUET would become number in the country in near future.

The senate passed a Rs1.3bn deficit budget for the university.

The senate discussed Rs4,069.683m budget 2020-21 for the varsity which was presented by its finance director Zeeshan Ahmed Memon.

He informed the meeting that Rs2,637.158m were earmarked for salaries and Rs494m for retired employees. In the head of utilities, Rs172m were allocated whereas research component would get Rs92.847m while under the scholarship head, Rs37.1m were earmarked.

A Rs566.827m budget for Khairpur Mirs’ campus was also presented. The meeting noted that the Sindh government had not provided budget for the campus after 2016.

The finance director told the meeting that the Higher Education Commission (HEC) had been requested to provide Rs2,606.322m. He said the Sindh government had also been urged to provide Rs400m for the university’s Khairpur campus.

He said the university did not increase students’ fees because the Covid-19 situation had affected everything and it also led to drop in university’s income. If the Sindh government and HEC did not earmark the required budget, MUET would face financial problems, he said.

University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Aslam Uqaili urged Nisar Khuhro, who is also pro-chancellor, to get a permanent budget for the MUET allocated in Sindh government’s annual budgetary estimates to help it manage its affairs efficiently.

He said majority of students hailed from the rural parts of Sindh and the burden of cuts in the budget could not be passed on to students.

He said that different institutions and philanthropists had offered scholarships to the talented poor students so that they could continue their academic career.

He said the university’s students financial aid office had approached those organisations and donors in that regard. There were also students who did not have facilities of internet in their areas and some did not have laptops or mobile phones, but their problems were resolved by the university with the help of philanthropists, he added.

The meeting appreciated services of teachers, officers and other employees and also approved the budget.

The university passed a Rs1.3bn deficit budget in the senate’s meeting as the university’s anticipated receipts from the HEC are calculated at R1.2bn. Therefore it is looking towards the HEC to seek Rs2,606m to meet the deficit, according to a university official.

“We expect that Mr Khuhro will try his level best to provide grant for the Khairpur Mirs campus on the pattern of Quaid-i-Awam University of Engineering, Science and Technology Larkana campus,” he said. Since MUET was providing around Rs450m annually to the Khairpur campus, it was running in overall deficit, he added.

Published in Dawn, January 13th, 2021

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