Sindh Assembly passes deficit budget -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Sindh Assembly passes deficit budget

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly unanimously passed on Monday a Rs7.16 billion deficit budget for the financial year 2012-13 with a total outlay of Rs577.98 billion, including over Rs542.47 billion 59 demands for grant.

The house also approved over Rs150.33 billion 56 demands for grants on the supplementary budget for 2011-12. The supplementary budget was a 32 per cent increase over the current budget’s estimates spent during the year closing on June 30.

This was probably for the first time that no cut motions were submitted by any lawmaker in a house of 168 members.

Earlier, winding up a general discussion on the budget, Leader of the House and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah called it “the budget of the people, for the people by the representatives of the people”.

He announced the enhancement of the MPAs’ development funds from Rs60 million to Rs80 million each.

The government had always tried to strengthen the democratic dispensation in the country, he said and added that the budget was a noble example of unity “and that was why we were able to deliver”.

Referring to people who said the government had done nothing, the chief minister said he wished such critics of the government’s performance had the ability to see what the Sindh government had done to ameliorate the lot of the people. “This is criticism for the sake of criticism,” he said, criticising Nawaz Sharif saying “the one supporter of the Kalabagh plan, who despite being twice prime minister of the country, is now taking shelter in Tonga parties.”

He alleged that it was the Nawaz government which had shelved the 1,200 megawatts Keti Bunder power project in 1994 earlier initiated by the government of Benazir Bhutto.

Holding the very people involved in agitation responsible for the power crisis, he said had they not shelved the Keti Bunder power project, the country would not be facing a power crisis now.

Referring to the law and order situation in Karachi, Mr Shah said 322 people were killed in 2007 while in the last six months 129 people were killed here. He said it was not appropriate to call them targeted killings, as a murder was a murder wherever it took place.

Karachi, he said, is the financial hub of the country and it had a big heart. Even today people from not only the interior of the province but throughout Pakistan, including Fata, were coming in search of jobs as they still considered Karachi peaceful.

“There are certain forces who want to destabilise Pakistan, but we would not allow their conspiracies to succeed,” he added.

He said the province had faced floods for two consecutive years, but the government efforts helped mitigate miseries of the affected people.

At the end of his speech, the chief minister announced three bonuses equal to basic salaries for the staff of the finance, planning and development and law departments and the Sindh Assembly in appreciation of their handwork.

After the approval of the budget, Speaker Nisar Ahmad Khuhro read out the order of Governor Ishratul Ibad Khan proroguing the session sine die.

Earlier responding to the observations of the members on the budget during the general discussion, Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah tried to dispel the impression about delay in the release of funds and use of only 40 per cent of the allocated funds. He said that of the 1,244 ongoing schemes, 1,094 schemes were given 50 per cent funds in the first quarter of July. He said a little delay in the releases of funds was caused by the floods and heavy rains, but there was no cut on the development side and by June 20 Rs135 billion was utilised on development schemes, including foreign-aided development project.