KARACHI: The Sindh Cabinet on Tuesday approved Rs58 billion for nine different ongoing projects under public-private partnership to clear their liabilities and grant of Rs4bn to the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (NICVD).

The cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and attended by all provincial ministers, advisers, special assistants, and officials concerned approved establishment of the Sindh Physiotherapy Council, reconstitution of Zakat Council, allocation of 0.5 per cent job quota for transgender people and decided to organise festivals in every district and two more events in Thar during this winter.

The provincial cabinet approved Rs58bn for nine different projects to clear their liabilities to effectively and efficiently finance public-private partnership projects with the chief minister directing the PPP Unit to expedite the work on the ongoing projects so that they could be completed within time.

An amount of Rs13.1bn is approved for Malir Expressway; move to set up physiotherapy council

The funds approved for the nine projects, include Rs13.1bn for Malir Expressway, Rs19.2bn for Nabisar-Vajihar water works, Rs6.73bn for the Ghotki-Kandhkot bridge on Indus River, Rs4.3bn for the Mauripur Expressway, Rs5bn for Korangi Link Road, Rs7.3bn to Karachi Hub water canal, Rs862 million for Karachi-Thatta Carriageway, Rs440m for Children Hospital North Karachi and Rs830m for Regional Blood Centres.

The PPP unit would utilise the funds for debt servicing on the projects.

NICVD grant

The health department informed the cabinet that the NICVD was given short payment during the last three years — 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20.

The health department had released fewer funds than the allocated amount. Therefore, the NICVD had liabilities of Rs7.4bn.

The cabinet approved release of Rs4bn immediately and decided to release remaining amount to the NICVD later. The health department also informed the cabinet that it was facing an acute shortage of administratively skilled and dynamic BS-20 officers, for their posting as district health officers (DHOs) in various districts for effective performance as head of district health administration.

The cabinet was told that most of the posts of administrative nature were in grade BS-18 or in BS-19 at district level, such as deputy commissioner.

The cabinet, after discussion approved conversion of DHO post of BS-20 to floating post of BS-20/19.

The cabinet approved a 0.5 per cent quota for members of the transgender community in recruitment to all government departments for which an amendment to the Sindh Civil Bill would be made.

Murad wants more festivals

The chief minister told the cabinet that the Thar Jeep Rally had developed a soft image of Tharparkar.

The participants of the rally were amazed to see the development in Thar and congratulated him for taking such ‘unbelievable’ initiatives, he said.

Mr Shah directed the sports department to plan a detailed programme for organising sports events in every district but during the ongoing winter season two events should be held in Thar.

“Next year, we will try to organise the Desert Jeep Challenge on International level, therefore planning for the upcoming event must be started from the current financial year,” he said.

Bill to form physiotherapy council

The cabinet approved creation of the Sindh Physiotherapy Council (SPC) to grant recognition to any institution in the province which trains for house job or internship or supervises clinical practice in foundation course related to physiotherapy.

The council would also regulate the minimum time duration of internship of the physiotherapy internees. The SPC would also be responsible for standardising hospitals physiotherapy departments and physiotherapy clinics for treatment purposes.

The cabinet was told that Pakistan’s first physical therapy institution was established in the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre.

At present 20 different public and private universities offering physical therapy degree programmes and more than 1,000 professionals are graduating from there.

In the recent past, approximately 50 new physical therapy colleges, mostly below standard, have been opened. Hence the number of graduates is estimated to increase up to 5,000 per year in near future.

The cabinet was told that due to the absence of a regulatory body, the profession of physiotherapy was engulfed by quackery, low quality clinical set-ups and poor education standards. The cabinet approved the creation of the SPC and its draft bill and referred it to the assembly for legislation.

Wheat stocks

The cabinet was informed that the National Accountability Bureau had declared shortage of 67,846.94 tonnes of wheat in Kashmore and Naushahro Feroze districts, but when the shortage was verified it was recorded at 21,409.71 tonnes and 33,917.41 tonnes were available but declared in the custody of NAB.

Food officials informed the cabinet that they had talked to NAB authorities and told them that if the stocks available were not lifted the grain worth Rs1bn would be infested with weevil.

The NAB authorities told the food department that they had not stopped them from releasing the wheat. The cabinet directed the food department to lift the stocks and release them as per policy.

New head of Zakat Council

The provincial cabinet on the proposal of the zakat & usher department constituted and approved the appointment of Niaz Hussain as new chairman of Sindh Zakat Council.

Other members of the council, whose appointment has been approved by the cabinet, include Mufti Ferozuddin Hazarvi, Mufti Mohammad Nazir Jan Sarhandi and Mohammad Ashraf Gormani (Ulema), Nadeem Ahmed Bhutto, Ashraf Ali Isran (prominent persons) and Shama Arif Mithani and Advocate Shakira Siddiqui (women).

These appointments have been made for a period of three years on honorary basis.

The meeting participants were told that the Annual Development Programme (ADP) schemes were allotted an ADP number every year and the number kept changing for the same scheme as the scheme progresses in the next financial year. This created confusion and problems in maintaining data for every scheme.

The finance department on the directives of the chief minister developed a bar code or what it was named as Unique Identification Number (UIN). The UIN would be allotted to every individual scheme and would remain unchanged for the scheme throughout its lifespan from its inclusion in the ADP till its completion.

The cabinet approved the UIN scheme that would be launched from next ADP-2022-23.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2022

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