Sindh govt earmarks Rs185bn for development projects

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KARACHI: The Sindh government on Monday allocated Rs185 billion to the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the next fiscal year 2013-14, which was approximately 90 percent higher than Rs97.50 billion revised ADP of the ongoing fiscal year, ending June 30.


“To continue our march to progress, we have made a historically high allocation of Rs185 billion for the Annual Development Programme,” Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said, while presenting the budget at the provincial assembly.


The budget focuses on optimal utilisation of resources to achieve objectives of socioeconomic development, he said. “This (historically high ADP) reflects our resolve to bring significant improvement in the life of the people by investing in health, education, infrastructure and human resource development.”


The budget document clarified that the allocated ADP excludes Rs29.55 billion that the government was expected to receive under the heads of the foreign project assistance (FPA at Rs21.58 billion) and Flood Emergency Reconstruction Project (FERP at Rs7.97) during the next year.


Recognising the importance of the economic development, the provincial government earmarked highest amount of Rs68.89 billion for the economic affairs, followed by social protection, including ADP for districts) of Rs65.42 billion, the budget document revealed.


Besides, the government has allocated Rs13.73 billion for education and services; Rs17 billion for health; housing and community amenities Rs2.83 billion; environment protection Rs2.40 billion; recreational activities, culture and religion Rs1.25 billion; and Rs13.45 billion has been allocated for general public service, it said.


Maintaining its previous year’s practices, the government put no funds for the development of public order and safety affairs. It had set Rs159.89 million in this head in the fiscal year 2011-12, it said. Shah said that bringing the law back under the control of Rangers and police remained one of the biggest challenges for his government, as miscreants and terrorists were trying to destroy the peace and tranquility of the province. “To further strengthen our system in Karachi, Rs400 million has been reserved for the purchase and installation of surveillance cameras.”


Power and poverty alleviation efforts are the main driving force of socioeconomic development. It is a barometer of his government progress and a propeller that ensure its smooth economic take off. “We have attached highest priority to power and energy sector in our election manifesto.”


The Thar coal is indeed a gift from Allah to the people of Pakistan. It can meet all the energy needs and can provide a platform for sustainable growth, Shah said. “The Sindh government earmarked Rs10.1 billion during the financial year 2012-13 and has proposed Rs12 billion for the next financial year 2013-14,” he said. At present, three major projects of 2,400MW capacity are underway in Thar and are likely to be completed by 2017-18, he said.


The provincial government also allocated Rs12 billion for water and drainage sector projects, which included construction of water carrier from LBOD Spinal Drain to Nabisar, Sindh Flood Emergency Reconstruction project for bunds and canals and Sindh Water Sector Improvement Project.


“Of 213 ongoing schemes in this sector, 75 are expected to be completed by June 2014,” Shah said. A sum of Rs16.80 billion has been kept for development of road network, he said, adding that by the end of the next financial year, 1,000km new road will be added to existing network. Also, 450km road network will be improved during the year, he added.


There is a complete misunderstanding when it comes to talk of whether a tax should be imposed on agriculture income. Firstly, the federation has no right to impose such a tax and secondly since provincial governments are already awash with funds and have other avenues of boosting revenue, if the provinces think they don’t need to impose such a tax then that’s that.


Dr S Akbar Zaidi


This is discrimination against those who are paying taxes. Income is income, irrespective of its source. If it crosses the threshold level, it should be taxed as this is what equity is. The international community and the people in Pakistan are already keeping a keen eye on Pakistan because in their opinion the Pakistani authorities have failed to tax the rich and powerful.


Dr Ashfaque H Khan

Courtesy:  The News

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