KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday presented annual budget of the province for financial year 2020-21 amid ruckus created by the opposition parties at the provincial assembly in Karachi.
The Sindh government announced Rs1,240 billion (Rs1.2 trillion) budget for the next financial year, with Rs170 billion for development sector.
The session was attended by 25 percent of the members at the assembly while many other members participated in the budget speech through video link. Members present at the assembly were wearing face masks as a precautionary measure against the covid-19.
Murad Ali Shah said the budget gives relief to the government employees, farmers and the private sector workers. He said that in difficult situation, people can’t be left alone while we kept budget for development works despite difficulties and tried to present a balanced financial plan.
Sindh cabinet agreed to grant grade 1 to 16 employees a 10 percent pay increase, while grade 17 and above officers will receive a 5 percent raise in their salaries in the 2020-21 budget. However, it should be noted here that Center and Punjab did not increase government employee salaries for fiscal year 2020-21 in their respective budgets.
While presenting the budget, CM Murad lashed out at the federal government for its dismal performance, especially in economic sector.
He said the province was facing great challenge due to attack of locusts and spread of coronavirus. The chief minister said his government was going to build first infectious disease hospital of Pakistan
In the budget, Rs1.5 bn allocated for buying machinery, equipment for hospitals. Rs365 million allocated for healthcare commission Karachi. Allocated Rs20 bn for those affected by COVID-19. Rs250 mn is being given to Thar Foundation for building hospitals in Islamkot district.
Rs1 bn subsidy to be given to small farmers to control locusts. Rs5.1 bn allocated for NICVD Karachi. 100 mn grant given to Fatmid Foundation. Rs5.6 bn specified for SIUT. Rs1 bn allocated for treatment of AIDS patient.
Salaries of govt employees to be increased by 5 to 10 percent.
Rs20 bn subsidy being given to rice farmers. Rs15.84 bn allocated for agriculture sector.
Rs1.0 billion will be provided on account of fertilizer subsidy to the farmers with landholding of 25 acres or less. Rs1.0 billion will be provided as subsidy for pesticides to small farmers with landholding of 25 acres or less.
Rs.3.0 billion is earmarked for a Small Business Support Fund in urban areas through Social Protection Strategist Unit, Social Welfare department. Loan size will be a maximum of Rs.0.20 million.
Allocation of Rs. 2.0 billion is proposed under Poverty Alleviation Program for small farmers/community based loans in rural areas. Loan size of Rs.25,000 using poverty reduction score cards of ongoing poverty reduction program by utilizing services of SRSO, NRSP, Thar Deep etc through Social Protection Strategist Unit, Social Welfare department.
In the budget, the Sindh government allocated funds for 2,069 old schemes and 177 new schemes.
“The government of Sindh did not rely on a lock down alone. We diverted our resources towards providing better health facilities, and towards supporting the common man facing a potential meltdown, as economy came to a near standstill as a result of an imminent national lockdown,” said the chief minister.
He said Corona testing capacity had been enhanced to 11,450 per day in the province, which was initially only 80 tests per day.