Sindh promises 20,000 jobs during next fiscal -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Sindh promises 20,000 jobs during next fiscal

KARACHI: The Sindh government on Monday presented an over Rs7 billion tax-free deficit budget for 2012-13 with total outlay of Rs577.98 billion and projected revenue at Rs570.82 billion, promising 20,000 jobs and proposing 20 percent ad hoc relief for public servants and pensioners. The finance minister did not give details of the resources to meet the deficit but promised 20,000 jobs during the next fiscal year.

Provincial Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah announced the fifth and last budget of the present government. The budget speech focused almost entirely on achievements of the past four years and promises for the upcoming fiscal year, starting from July 1.

The provincial government proposed a 20 percent of basic salary as ad hoc relief allowance and announced that pensioners would also get 20 percent ad hoc relief. The Sindh finance minister also unveiled the Annual Development Plan (ADP) to the tune of Rs231 billion, which is 40 percent of the total budget outlay for 2012-13.

Presenting the budget highlights, Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the next fiscal year’s budget outlay of Rs577.98 billion was greatly increased against Rs236.2 billion of 2007-08. About the budget deficit, he said: “Despite a healthy 18 percent increase in revenues, the deficit is solely due to massive jump in the development portfolio, which has been proposed at a historic Rs231 billion, up from Rs164 billion in 2011-12.”

The figure includes ADP of Rs181 billion, Rs14.5 billion for federal projects and Rs35.7 billion foreign project assistance, he added.The finance minister said the budget deficit would be met through resource mobilisation during the next fiscal year.

The estimated revenue receipts for the financial year 2012-12 from the Federal Divisible Pool are Rs314.36 billion. Receipts under straight transfers are estimated at Rs59.25 billion, showing an increase from the last year’s budget estimate of Rs53.4 billion.

The provincial receipts, including sales tax on services, are estimated at Rs96.69 billion, which is 21 percent higher than last year.The finance minister said that the Sindh Board of Revenue (SRB) would achieve the revenue collection target of Rs25 billion against sales tax on services during the current fiscal year, which was Rs18.3 billion transferred by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in 2010-11. The revenue collection target for the SRB is estimated at Rs32 billion for the next fiscal year, he added.

On the expenditure side, the current revenue expenditure for the financial year 2012-13 has been estimated at Rs315 billion, which is slightly higher than the revised estimates of Rs309.45 billion for 2011-12.

Describing last year’s performance and revised estimates, the provincial finance minister said the receipts from the federal government for 2011-12 increased to Rs323.17 billion against the budget estimates of Rs312.1 billion. Revised estimates of the divisible pool are Rs256.47 billion against the budget estimates of Rs251.9 billion, whereas straight transfers are Rs57 billion as compared to the budget estimates of Rs53.4 billion. The provincial tax and non-tax receipts are around Rs82.5 billion as against budget estimates of Rs79.9 billion.

The current revenue expenditure for 2011-12 is revised to Rs309.45 billion against budget estimates of Rs283.15 billion. “The upward revision in the current revenue expenditure is due to the outside budget expenditure on emergent needs as flood related expenditure,” the finance minister said.

Murad Ali Shah claimed that the spending on ADP of 2011-12 is estimated to be record Rs163 billion against the allocation of Rs164 billion. Given the past year’s performance, he said the government had allocated Rs644 billion for development during the last five years. “Compared to this, cumulative development spending from 1947 to 2007 was Rs310 billion, which is less than half of the amount allocated in the five years of the present government,” he added.

The finance minister praised the performance of the Sindh Bank, which has a deposit base of Rs25 billion out of which more than 40 percent are private sector deposits. The Sindh Bank was inaugurated on December 26, 2010 and in its first year posted profit of Rs1.14 billion. The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) had granted permission to the Sindh Bank to open another 100 branches along with 10 sub-branches across the country during 2012.

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