‘Federal govt not releasing funds for development projects’

Sindh govt is executing 27 of the 127 PSDP projects for which only 27% funds have been released

Our Correspondent February 23, 2018
Shah promised to approach the PM regarding the funds. PHOTO: PPI

KARACHI: The federal government, under its Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2017-18, has launched 126 projects in Sindh, of which the provincial government is executing 27 which have a combined cost of Rs27.33 billion. However, the Centre has released only Rs7.39 billion, which is a mere 27% of the allocation. "This is the importance the federal government is giving Sindh," lamented Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

He said this while presiding over a preparatory meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC), which will be chaired by the prime minister on Monday in Islamabad. The preparatory meeting was attended by Industries Minister Manzoor Wassan, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Planning and Development Chairperson Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to the CM Sohail Rajput and others.

The agenda of the NEC includes the establishment of sanctioning limits of development fora, review of the PSDP 2017-18 and socio-economic objectives of the 12th Five Year Plan 2018-23.

In the meeting, it was pointed out that the federal government has released only Rs7.39 billion of the promised Rs27.33 billion for 27 development schemes being executed by the Sindh government. The participants were also told that there were six PSDP projects worth Rs744.89 million in Sindh for which no funds have been released. These seven schemes include roads in Hyderabad under the Hyderabad Development Package of 2006 and hospital and water supply schemes in Nawabshah.

Ongoing projects: 3,165 development schemes being completed

Waseem told the CM that there were three schemes of the construction of small dams, lining of distributaries and rehabilitation of irrigation and drainage systems for which the Centre has released only 20% of the funds. At this, the CM said that as per release policy of the Planning and Development and Reforms Division, 70% of the allocated amount should have been released by now. This shows that they are violating their own policies, he said.

The federal government has released only Rs800 million for a Rs12.2 billion project to construct small damns, delay action damns, recharge weirs and ISSO barriers. The project to line distributaries and minors was launched for Rs13.83 billion but only Rs400 million has been allocated. Similarly, Rs16.8 billion schemes to revamp the irrigation and drainage system was launched but only Rs400 million was released. After hearing this, the CM lamented that the schemes will never be completed if such meagre sums are allocated.

The CM recalled that the revision of S-III project was cleared by Central Development Working Party in July, 2017 with an increase in the cost from Rs7.98 billion to Rs36.12 billion. The project was taken to the executive committee of the NEC where Waseem urged the federal government to share 50% of the revised cost. The federal finance secretary reluctantly agreed provide some funds at a later stage, however, the meeting’s minutes have still not been issued. A similar attitude was seen in sharing a third of the cost of the five combined effluent treatment plants.

Waseem told the CM that Rs1.57 billion with a 50:50 cost sharing between Sindh and federal government had been decided. The Sindh government provided a throw-forward amount of Rs392.29 million on account of the federal government’s share, which has yet to be adjusted.

Progress reviewed: ‘Rs5b being spent on development’

Shah said that he would urge the PM to release the allocated amount to the Sindh government for the Urban Water Supply Scheme Benazirabad.

In the meeting, it was also pointed out that the National Highway Authority has launched Rs319 billion road sector schemes against which Sindh has been given a share of Rs5 billion. This was termed an injustice with the people of Sindh.