KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah noted that there has been an improved pace of work on most development schemes during the current fiscal year compared to fiscal year 2016-17, as he presided over the first meeting for the preparation of the 2018-19 provincial budget on Thursday.
He also directed the participants to control non-development expenditures and increase allocations in the social sector such as education and health in the next budget.
The CM directed the officials to focus on water supply so that schemes in the sector are completed as early as possible.
Those who attended the meeting included Planning and Development Board Chairperson Mohammad Waseem, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, the finance secretary and officials of the finance department.
The CM was told that during fiscal year 2016-17 provincial receipts rose to Rs159.29 billion, while during 2017-18 the receipts are estimated to be Rs199.627 billion. The receipts of the first seven months of the current fiscal year amounted to Rs100 billion, the meeting was informed.
Participants pointed out that during the current fiscal year 2,974 schemes, including 2,158 ongoing and 816 new schemes, were in progress at a cost of Rs244 billion.
Shah observed that the pace of most of the development works was better this year compared to last year. He, however, called for monitoring the development works in order to ensure that the fast pace of work did not compromise on its quality.
The CM also expressed satisfaction over the projects of the health department, especially the hospitals that were outsourced. The policy to outsource hospitals must be strengthened, he said, adding that more health units might be outsourced in the next fiscal year.
“There is a need for starting special programmes for women and youth, and for poverty alleviation,” Shah said. He directed the team working on the budget to include such programmes in the next budget.
The CM said that the education sector should be the biggest priority in the next budget followed by health, water and sanitation, and agriculture. Shah also announced that in the future meetings for budget preparation will be held at least thrice in a month.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2018.
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