KARACHI: The Sindh government on Saturday presented the provincial budget for fiscal year 2015-16 with a total outlay of Rs739.3 billion against last year’s budget estimate of Rs686 billion, showing an overall 7.7 pre cent (Rs53 billion) increase in non-development expenditure.
Presenting the budget amid the strong protest by opposition parties, Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah announced that they had set a Rs162 billion provincial development portfolio, which was Rs6 billion less than what was allocated in 2014-15 when Rs168 billion had been allocated.
Shah added that the development portfolio is estimated at Rs213 billion which would also include provincial ADP of Rs177 billion including development financing through foreign project assistance of Rs26 billion and federal government’s funds of Rs9 billion under Public Sector Development Programme.
According to budget books, the total receipts of the province stand at Rs727 billion, while total expenditure of the province is estimated at around Rs739 billion and a budget deficit which has been estimated at Rs12,727 million.
The provincial government has earmarked a 10 per cent increase in salaries and 25 per cent hike in medical allowance with effect from July this year. The ad-hoc increase of 2011-12 will be merged in the pay scales.
The rate of orderly and special additional pension has also been increased to Rs12,000 per month while the minimum wage has also been increased from Rs12,000 to Rs13,000 per month.
Rates of special pay to senior private secretaries, private secretaries and assistant private secretaries are being increased by 100 per cent.
The pre-budget cabinet meeting at CM House. PHOTO: PPI
“A uniform PhD allowance of Rs10, 000 per month will be given to PhD/DSc degree holders working under government. This will replace the existing science and technology allowance of Rs7, 500 per month and PhD allowance of Rs22, 50 per month.”
In the budget, the government has announced 14,480 government jobs and training for 0.1 million youth in diverse disciplines under Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Youth Development Programme.
“Total allocation for SNE is Rs9 billion which includes creation of 14,242 new posts,” the finance minister said.
In the upcoming financial year, priority has been assigned to setting up public service delivery machinery with foremost thrust on education, health, energy, law and order, irrigation, women empowerment and minorities.
Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah (L) watches on as Sindh Chief Minister (R) signs the budget document. PHOTO: PPI
“Government of Sindh attaches top most priority to education,” Shah said adding that budget estimates for current revenue for education including medical education and technical education have been enhanced from Rs134.37 billion in outgoing year (2014-15) to Rs144 billion for the next year.
“This shows a 7.6 per cent increase, it includes grants for universities and educational institutions,” he said adding that development budget for education has been enhanced to Rs13.2 billion from Rs11 billion last year.
“For better management schools, 1,484 posts have been created in education department which include 1,300 post for headmasters/headmistresses,” he said adding that Rs200 million has been earmarked to eliminate ghost schools and teachers with proper monitoring.
Regarding health, the provincial government has increased the current expenditure of health department increasing budget from Rs43 billion in the outgoing year (2014-15) to Rs54 billion in next year. A major chunk of amount of Rs65 billion has been allocated for law and order out which Rs61 billion has been allocated for police, Rs2.4 billion for Rangers and Rs1.52 billion for frontier constabulary. “Around 10030 new vacancies are being created in Sindh police in this budget,” budget books said.
Members of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly stage a walkout. PHOTO: ONLINE
Regarding energy, the provincial government has earmarked Rs16.5 billion for ADP for energy sector which include government commitment to its coal, wind and other energy project.
He added that the provincial government has allocated a budget of Rs64. 458 billion for the Home Department in order to boost law and order in the city. Further, over 14,000 new jobs are being created in the police department.
A comprehensive programme for development needs of Karachi has been planned and government has allocated Rs49 billion for development schemes in the city against the current allocation of Rs33 billion.
The budget also included a couple of big ticket items for Karachi.
“To fulfill the needs of Karachi, the Karachi mass transit project with the circular railway, five bus rapid transit and two metro rail transit have been planned,” Shah said, adding that the government was fully committed to the revival of Karachi circular railways project with the assistance of Japanese company JICA.
Similarly Rs37 billion has been allocated for Hyderabad division development package, Rs19 billion for Sukkur, Rs33 billion for Larkana, Rs36 billion for Mirpurkhas and Rs17 billion for Benazirabad.