Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the finance portfolio, unveiled the provincial budget for fiscal 2017-18 with an outlay of Rs1.04 trillion in the Sindh Assembly on Monday.
In his budget speech, Shah stated that the budget for the financial year 2017-18 reflects a 19.3 per cent increase over the 2016-17 budget.
According to Shah, education will get the largest chunk of the budget in the upcoming fiscal year than ever before.
Murad also said the government would not be introducing any new tax for the fiscal year.
The government of Sindh allocated Rs202 billion for education in its budget, up 24pc from Rs163bn for the ongoing year.
Murad said that the government had approved a Rs5bn grant for universities and other educational institutions. Rs8bn from the education budget will go to the Sindh Education Foundation, while a ‘reward system’, which will grant Rs100,000 to every student who achieves A-1 grade in Intermediate and Matriculation exams, shall also be introduced.
Health spending up by 26pc
According to Shah, Rs100.32bn have been allocated for health in Sindh for fiscal 2017-18. The amount represents an increase of 26pc over the current year’s allocation of Rs79.88bn.
The Sindh Immunization Support Program, which “will revolutionize the vaccination and inoculation process making our future generations healthier,” has been allocated Rs8.09bn, according to the budget speech made by the CM.
Development and Infrastructure
Development expenditure for fiscal 2017-18 has been set at Rs274bn.
CM Shah stated that the share of road infrastructure in the Annual Development Programme will be increased from Rs15.54bn to Rs25.77bn for 2017-18. A further 5bn has been allocated for the repair of roads, he said.
Among major developmental projects, Karachi-Thatta Dual Carriageway is to be completed by the end of this calendar year at the cost of Rs8.85bn, the CM said.
Shah also stated that Rs5.5bn have been allocated for solid waste management while Rs71bn will go to local councils.
The provincial government has also allocated Rs6.4bn to the Greater Karachi Water Supply Project (K-IV) in addition to the allocation made by the federal government. A further Rs1.5bn will go to the Greater Karachi Sewage Treatment Project, commonly known as the S-III project.
In his speech, the CM also noted that the Karachi Circular Railway, costing $2.4bn, has been included in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and that the Sindh government was “thankful to the Federal government for extending its support for construction of Green Line BRTS”.
Delay in release of provincial funds
During his speech, CM Sindh lamented that although the federal government was the biggest contributor to Sindh’s finances, contributing 75pc of its total resources, the Sindh government has received less than the stipulated amount each year, resulting in a persistent shortfall.
He further stated that the government’s failure to grant the 9th NFC award was aproof of “the inefficiencies plaguing the system at such a high level”.