KARACHI: For Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Karachi president Ali Zaidi, the Sindh budget for 2015-2016 is business as usual with no major changes.
In a press statement issued on Monday, Zaidi pointed out the lack of any bold measures or vision shown by the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government and said that it did not even conform to the party’s ideological foundations.
“The current leadership of the PPP claims to be the inheritors of the legacy of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto,” he said. “But sadly, this budget and the previous seven by the Sindh government don’t reflect this.”
Tax on agricultural income estimated for 2015-16 is a paltry Rs559.3 million or 0.4 per cent of total projected provincial tax receipts, which is less than the projected amount the government is expected to receive through fees drawn by government’s educational institutes. “This is a cruel joke on the people of Sindh as it clearly indicates the continued stronghold of feudal landlords on the current government,” he said, demanding the government make the tax system fairer.
He appreciated the budgeted spending of Rs200 million to eliminate ghost schools and teachers. “It’s a positive sign that the government intends to take action against them,” he said, hoping the government follows through with this. “We urge the government install biometric attendance systems as an essential part of any monitoring system it decides to implement in order to keep checks on employees.”
According to Zaidi, the Rs49.7 billion package for Karachi is a good start but not sufficient given its population of over 20 million.
“The Sindh government is spending Rs33.6 billion on Larkana, which has a population that is one-fourth of Karachi.”
He also appreciated the allocations for the K-IV water project and the upgrade of Dhabeji pumping station. The government has, however, failed to allocate funds for safe drinking water, he added.
“If an unstable Karachi can generate over 60% of the total revenues of the entire country, imagine what a more peaceful Karachi can generate,” he said. “Both the federal and provincial governments must pay proper attention to the development of Karachi or else the entire country will suffer. There needs to be a refocus on the revival of this megacity.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 16th, 2015.