A cabinet meeting was held at the Chief Minister House on Friday to reportedly discuss the proposals submitted by the finance and planning department for the upcoming budget, slated to be announced on June 17. It could not, however, be confirmed what transpired at the meeting as no cabinet member was willing to share the details.
According to an official source, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and the cabinet members insisted on giving a raise to government employees despite the fact that federal government has not allowed the same and the current financial position of the province does not allow for such a move. “Officials advised the CM to follow the federal government’s decision and increase salaries next year,” the source said. “The officials told the CM that an eight per cent raise could be given at best but he was adamant on 10 to 15 per cent.”
The final approval would be given on June 17 in a pre-budget cabinet meeting.
A tax has also been proposed on marriage halls with a covered area of 800-1,000 square yards and consultancy firms but unlike the federal government, the Sindh government does not intend to tax the private schools.
Although the CM House spokesperson said that initial proposals were submitted and finance and planning and development department officials briefed the participants about tax mobilisation and other issue at the meeting, the cabinet members offered different accounts. While information minister Sharjeel Memon avoided sharing any details, law minister Dr Sikandar Mandhro denied budget was discussed at the meeting. “We discussed contingency plans for the upcoming monsoon, Budget was not on the agenda.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2013.