With local bodies in hand, PPP govt sets up PFC for Sindh after 15 years

Published July 20, 2023
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presides over a cabinet meeting at CM House on July 19. — Twitter/SindhCMHouse
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presides over a cabinet meeting at CM House on July 19. — Twitter/SindhCMHouse

• Murad says he wanted to announce long-delayed award before end of his term
• Rs657.8m subsidy approved to maintain Peoples Bus Service fare for next six months

KARACHI: The Sindh Cabinet on Wednesday approved the establishment of much-delayed Provincial Finance Commission (PFC) for distribution of financial resources to all districts and local government agencies from the provincial revenues.

Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who presided over the cabinet meeting, also directed the chief secretary to get the PFC notified as he wanted to announce the PFC award before the end of his tenure.

The Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government had failed to announce the PFC award, which was last announced in 2007, during its three tenures starting from 2008. It had on July 11 finally decided to constitute the commission.

Coincidently, the PFC, which has to be announced after every four years, is being notified after the PPP succeeded for the first time in forming its local governments across the province, including Karachi.

The PFC will recommend a resource distribution formula to the government and give recommendations for distribution of resources between the government and the local councils out of the proceeds of the provincial consolidated fund into a provincial retained amount and a provincial allocable amount — called the PFC award.

The cabinet decided that the chairman of the PFC shall be Chief Minister/Minister of Finance Syed Murad Ali Shah, co-chairman Local Government Minister Nasir Shah, two members of the provincial assembly, Karachi and Sukkur mayors, District Council Tando Mohammad Khan chairman Syed Qasim Naveed, chairman of Municipal Committee of Umerkot Qasim Siraj Soomro and chairman of Korangi Town Naeem Shaikh as its members.

Last week speaking to journalists, Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had said that since the newly-elected representatives of local bodies had taken over, therefore, he had decided to announce the next PFC for the vertical distribution of available resources among the metropolitan corporation, district councils, district municipal corporations, municipal committees and town committees.

Subsidy for bus service

Transport Minister Sharjeel Memon told the cabinet that the People Bus Service Project had suffered a prompt rise in costs due to rise in fuel prices and the Sindh Mass Transit Authority had shown concerns that the fares had not been revised as yet.

Mr Memon said that the company had requested to extend the ongoing subsidy programme at Rs40 per passenger for further six months to improve the efficiency of the project and facilitate the public travelling at large.

The cabinet decided to approve a subsidy of Rs657.8 million and directed the transport department to ensure the maintenance of the fare for next six months.

Meanwhile, the chief minister directed the food department to invite the private sector to import 500,000 metric tons of wheat, otherwise, the provincial government through the federal government would import the wheat. The cabinet approved the proposal.

The cabinet directed the excise and taxation department to replace registration books of motor vehicles with the security featured Motor Vehicle Registration (MVR) cards.

The cabinet also approved the appointment of senior leader Dr Asim Hussain as chairman of the board of the Education City.

Land allotted to investment dept

The cabinet approved the allotment of 2,767.27 acres of land in Deh Chuhar, District Malir, in favour of the investment department at 50 per cent of the market rate for education purposes.

The cabinet also approved Rs6 billion for the department of investment to pay the price of the land to the land & utilisation department.

The meeting was attended by all provincial ministers, advisers, special assistants, chief secretary Sohail Rajput, chairman of the planning and development board Hassan Naqvi, Fayaz Jatoi and others.

The cabinet had 69 agenda items and 58 of them were discussed and decided while the remaining would be taken up in the next cabinet meeting likely to be held on Saturday.

Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2023

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