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Saturday, July 20, 2024  
13 Muharram 1446  

Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah presents worth Rs3,352 billion provincial budget

Budget does not include any new development projects
CM Sindh Murad Ali Shah presenting budget of Sindh - Sindh Budget 2024-25 - Aaj News

Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah is presenting the provincial budget for the upcoming fiscal year, amounting to Rs3,352 billion, in the Sindh Assembly.

“Today, I am presenting the 12th budget of the province. We faced a lot of challenges over the last five years. We also faced a lot of challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic and incurred heavy losses because of floods,” Murad said while presenting the budget.

The proposed budget includes a 22% to 30% increase in salaries for government employees and a minimum wage of Rs37,000.

The budget does not include any new development projects, but it recommends creating 50,000 new jobs and converting hundreds of homes to solar energy. An estimated Rs170 billion will be allocated for maintaining peace and security.

Important points of budget

  • Estimated expenditure: Rs2,253 billion
  • Education: Rs322 billion
  • Health: Rs334 billion
  • Estimated revenue: Rs3,000 billion
  • Development budget: Rs959 billion
  • Rs8 billion has been allocated for Harri Card, a scheme for farmers
  • Minimum wage set at Rs37,000
  • Rs31.09 billion allocated for irrigation

Free treatment to 3.5m patients

Murad stated that the provincial government has launched the Peoples Ambulance Service under the Health Department. There are currently 315 ambulances available for emergency situations.

He further revealed that 3.5 million patients have received free treatment at government hospitals in the province and the Sindh Intensive Care Unit (SICU) has 1,200 beds.

The Sindh government has allocated Rs47.7 billion for the SICU over the past five years, the chief minister said and mentioned the establishment of a Mother and Child Hospital in Karachi’s Azam Basti area, as well as the creation of the Child Life Foundation, through which “six million children have received treatment.”

He added that 50,000 individuals have been provided with training, in collaboration with the Sindh Education Foundation. The government has also introduced a teaching licence programme to promote quality education in the province.

Up to 30% increase in salaries

The PPP-ruled province announced a significant 22% to 30% increase in salaries.

Murad, who presented the budget, proposed a “notable development” expenditure of Rs959 billion and added that a “balanced budget” was focused on rehabilitating flood victims and providing social protection.

The province’s total expected revenue is Rs3,000 billion, with federal transfers at 62% and provincial receipts at 22%. “There are also Rs22 billion in current capital receipts.”

Rs77b worth of federal grants in PSDP

Federal grants in the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) amount to Rs77 billion and foreign grants are Rs6 billion.

According to the chief minister, there is Rs334 billion in Foreign Funded Projects and Rs269 billion in the general sales tax (GST), along with Rs42.9 billion in provincial non-tax receipts.

He explained that the largest share of expenditure is 38% for salaries, followed by 27% for grants for various programmes. The non-salary expenditures include operational costs and the provincial Annual Development Programme includes Rs493 billion for foreign project assistance.

Education, health funds

The provincial government has allocated Rs519 billion for education, including Rs459 billion for current expenditures.

For the health sector, the PPP-ruled province has allocated Rs334 billion for the health sector, with Rs302 billion earmarked for current expenditures.

Sindh CM Murad also mentioned that the Local Government with a budget of Rs329 billion was among the top three sectors. Agriculture has been allocated Rs58 billion, including Rs32 billion for current expenditures. Moreover, Rs77 billion has been allocated for the energy sector, with Rs62 billion for the ongoing expenditures.

Allocations

  • Transport sector: Rs56 billion
  • Irrigation: Rs94 billion, including Rs36 billion for current expenditures
  • Works and Services Sector: Rs86 billion
  • Planning and Development Sector: Rs30 billion
  • Works and Services: Rs86 billion
  • Sindh Government & Coordination Department: Rs153 billion
  • Home Department: Rs194 billion
  • Solar power projects: Rs10 billion
  • Hub Canal scheme: Rs5 billion. The project is expected to increase the daily water supply to Karachi by 100 million gallons
  • Upgrading 485 police stations: Rs3.75 billion
  • Purchase of new weapons and equipment for police: Rs180 million
  • Acquisition of special equipment to control volatile crowds and protests: Rs20 million
  • Health insurance of the police force: Rs496 million
  • Boost the morale and performance of police personnel in carrying out their duties: Rs23 million
  • DNA testing facilities: Rs10 million

Construction of 125,000 houses completed

The Sindh People’s Housing Flood Affectees Project has completed the construction of 125,000 houses, the chief minister said.

Minimum wage set at Rs37,000

In a move to support the project’s workforce, the Sindh government has proposed a minimum wage of Rs37,000 per month. Additionally, a 25% increase in salaries has been suggested for grades 7 to 16, and a 22% hike for grades 17 and above.

Safe city project

The Sindh government has initiated the Safe City project in Karachi and planned to expand it to other cities like Hyderabad and Sukkur. Over the next five years, the government has announced its decision to spend Rs25 billion on solar energy provision.

Tax on services sector

“We will have to bring the Finance Bill this year, which will involve some tax reductions as well as the removal of certain exemptions,” Sindh CM Murad said.

The sales tax on services has been increased from 13% to 15%, he said.

Punjab Budget

Punjab presented its Rs5,446 billion tax-free budget on Thursday, amidst protests from the opposition. The estimated total revenue is Rs4,643 billion, with Rs3,683 billion expected from the federal government under the NFC Award.

The estimated provincial revenue is Rs960 billion, a 54% increase from last year. The new budget does not include any new taxes or increases in existing tax rates. Funds of 842 billion rupees have been allocated for development projects.

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The Punjab budget proposed a 20 to 25% increase in salaries and a 15% increase in pensions. The minimum wage was proposed to be increased from Rs32,000 to 37,000. Free solar panels would be provided to those using up to 100 units of electricity in Punjab.

The budget allocates Rs30 billion for the farmer’s tractor scheme, Rs10 billion for the “Apna Ghar Apni Chhat” (Own Home, Own Roof) programme, and Rs2 billion for the “Nigahaban Card” (Guardian Card). The Chief Minister’s “Roshan Gharana” (Bright Family) program is proposed to receive Rs9.5 billion, and the laptop scheme is proposed to receive Rs10 billion.

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