HYDERABAD: Reiterating concerns over delays in transfer of funds from the federal government to the province, Sindh’s Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah suggested the Centre to do away with the existing protocol.
“The transfer of funds must be ensured on a daily basis,” he said while talking to media persons late on Sunday night at the Government College in Hyderabad where he attended the college’s 100th anniversary celebrations.
Although, he said, the province’s share now amounted to 57.5 per cent under the National Finance Commission (NFC) Award, delays in release impeded projects in the province.
He complained that the Centre had transferred some funds to the Sindh government in the first week of October which were supposed to be handed over a year ago.
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Blaming Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for failing to create a consensus among provinces over the NFC Award, Shah said that he had sent a letter to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbassi three days ago, requesting him to convene a meeting to discuss unresolved NFC issues.
He, however, avoided comment over the prime minister’s criticism of the provincial government’s performance during his visit to Sindh on Saturday.
In response to a question about the Punjab government’s Orange Train project, he said that Sindh government was investing in Tharparkar district, where coal-based projects were paving the way for infrastructure development.
“Our investment in Tharparkar matches their (Punjab’s) in the Orange Train project. But Sindh’s projects are funded via Annual Development Programme (ADP) in the provincial budget while Punjab’s (Orange Train project was being funded) through loans.”
Comparing the two projects, the chief minister said that the train would benefit just a few hundreds of thousands people, but projects in Tharparkar would yield far greater economic and social benefits.
Shah also complained that in contrast to the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project, the Centre was quick to help the Punjab government in its train project.
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“I have been talking about the KCR for three years, but we got the facility we sought just two days ago.”
The CM announced that the Government College Hyderabad, founded in October 1917, would be upgraded to a university.
Assuring that the Sindh Assembly would adopt a bill in this regard soon, he said that all other procedures would be completed within a year.
Shah reminded that his father, former chief minister Syed Abdullah Shah, had attended the college’s 75th anniversary as chief guest.
He pledged that the constraint of shortage of funds would never be allowed to become an impediment in the way of setting up a university.
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He cautioned: “There is a growing concern that the quantitative increase in the university education did not match the quality of education … It has suffered.”
He said that the provincial government was trying to address this problem with the help of the provincial higher education commission.
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