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Murad unveils Rs2.2 trillion budget with deficit of Rs37.7bn

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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah presented a budget of Rs. 2,247.6 billion for the financial year 2023-24 with a development outlay of Rs 700.1 billion.

The total revenue receipts of the provincial government have been estimated at Rs. 2,209.785 billion, representing an increase of 31.56 percent from the concluding financial year 2022-2023, against the estimated expenditures of Rs 2,247.581 billion, representing a shortfall/deficit of Rs. 37.795 billion.

The chief minister also announced a much-awaited Rs. 10 billion `the Sindh Safe Cities Project’ (Phase-I), for Karachi with a substantial allocation of Rs. 4.5 billion for the year 2023-24.

The new project including the connectivity of Lyari -Gujjar Nala in Central for Rs1.5 billion, the Construction of the Sea Wall and Road from Dolman Mall to China Port, Clifton for Rs1430 million, Construction of a 6-lane Expressway way from the existing Jinnah Bridge along with Lyari Naddi to Hawksbay, including bridge crossing on main Hawkasbay road and a small bridge on navy maritime security jetty area, Keamari for Rs1.8 billion, Construction of a 2+2 lane underpass at Karimabad Distt: Central for Rs1.35 billion, and establishment of Campuses of Public Sector Universities in Districts of Karachi – Korangi, West, Kiamari for Rs4000 million.

It is a matter of immense honour for Murad Ali Shah to present his 12th Budget as Finance Minister, seventh as the Chief Minister, and the fifth consecutive budget of his current concluding tenure on the floor of the provincial assembly.

Revenue Receipts: The estimated Total Receipts of the province include three revenue receipts: Current Revenue Receipts estimated at Rs. 1,823.126 billion, Current Capital Receipts estimated at Rs. 36.133 billion, and Other Receipts estimated at Rs. 295.53 billion. In addition to the revenue receipts, Carryover Cash Balance is estimated to be Rs. 45 billion and the net balance of the Public Accounts of the Province is estimated to be Rs. 10 billion, with Rs. 5,585.66 billion in Receipts and Rs. 5,575.66 billion in Disbursements, in the Financial Year 2023-24.

Current Revenue Receipts include a total of Rs. 1,353.2 billion Federal Transfers in the form of Revenue Assignment estimated at Rs. 1,225 billion, Straight Transfers estimated at Rs. 64.42 billion, and Grants to offset losses of the abolition of OZT estimated at Rs. 33.74 billion. In addition, the head of Revenue Receipts includes estimated Provincial Tax Receipts of Rs. 202.9 billion, Provincial Sales Tax on Services of Rs. 235 billion, and Provincial Non-Tax Receipts of Rs. 32 billion.

Current Capital Receipts include Local Repayments/Loans estimated to be Rs. 6.133 billion and Bank Borrowing estimated to be Rs. 30 billion. Other Receipts include Foreign Project Assistance (FPA) budgeted at Rs. 266.7 billion, Other Federal Grants budgeted at Rs. 22.9 billion, and Foreign Grants budgeted at Rs. 5.92 billion.

Expenditures: The estimated expenditure of Rs. 2,247.58 billion includes Current Revenue Expenditure of Rs. 1,411.2 billion, Current Capital Expenditure of Rs. 136.26 billion, and Development Expenditure Rs. 700.1 billion. The latter includes Provincial ADP excluding FPA of Rs. 380.5 billion, Foreign Project Assistance of Rs. 266.7 billion, Other Federal Grants of Rs. 22.91 billion, and District ADP of Rs. 30 billion. Wheat subsidy: Mr. Shah also announced an allocation of Rs. 63.0 billion to ensure a consistent supply of subsidized wheat to mills and affordable wheat flour to the public; and a budgetary provision of Rs. 16.9 billion for the Pro-Poor Social Protection & Economic Sustainability Program.

Sindh

Sindh Solid Waste Management Board starts paying for garbage disposal in Pak Rupees

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KARACHI: With an aim to lower the financial burden on the provincial exchequer, the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) started to pay private companies contracted for garbage disposal in the city in local currency instead of US dollars.

In this regard, Managing Director SSWMB Syed Imtiaz Ali Shah held a meeting with representatives of the private firms responsible for disposal of garbage in the city and apprised them of the decisions made by the steering committee of the Board.

The meeting deliberated upon the new plan of garbage disposal in the city before the expiry of the contracts made with private firms for solid waste management on district West, Malir, Keamari and East.

It was informed in the meeting that the negotiation with the contracting firms for payment in local currency had already been started.

The representatives of the private firms working in district Malir, West and Keamari informed the meeting that the verification of the staff and vehicles had been completed through a third party, while the verification was still going on in district East.

The managing-director directed the officials concerned to take steps to further improve efficiency in the new operational plan.

He asked the officials to make union committee-wise operational plan, containing complete details of daily waste volume, transport, machinery, staff and all resources to further improve the door-to-door waste collection services.

He also directed the private companies to pay the salaries of their respective staff on time. Mr Shah said that the operational plan should also include training of the staff, the strategy of separate collection of waste and date of people who picked garbage illegally.

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SBCA launches crackdown against illegal structures in Karachi

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KARACHI: The Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) has initiated massive crackdown against illegal constructions in different parts of the city, resulting in demolition of numerous buildings, marriage halls etc.

In a recent operation against illegal constructions in Karachi’s district Central, SBCA officials also came under firing, however, SBCA officials proceeded with the operation and demolished the fourth floor of the targeted building.

Director General of SBCA Abdul Rasheed Solangi has instructed the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Central to apprehend the culprits immediately and file a case against those involved in the firing.

Abdul Rasheed Solangi emphasized the need for fearless enforcement actions against illegal constructions and commended the SBCA staff for their dedication and honesty. He assured them of full support in facing any challenges during their duties.

Abdul Rasheed Solangi along with the demolition squad has bulldozed more than four buildings in areas including Essa Nagri, Paposh Nagar, and Gulberg. Moreover, over 13 illegal portions have been demolished in areas including Saddar Town, Jamshed Town, Gulberg, and Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Director General of SBCA Abdul Rasheed Solangi is personally supervising the crackdown against illegal constructions. The provincial government is committed to cleansing Karachi from all forms of illegal constructions, the DG adds.

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Sindh CS, British Deputy High Commissioner vow to strengthen bilateral relations, work for environmental challenges

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KARACHI: British Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney met with Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah at the Sindh Secretariat on Wednesday to discuss enhancing bilateral relations between Pakistan and the United Kingdom.

During the meeting, Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah briefed the British Deputy High Commissioner on the ongoing efforts in infrastructure development, water supply, sewage, and governance in Sindh. He stated that the Sindh government is actively working on improving water supply, sewage, and road infrastructure to accommodate Karachi’s growing population.

“Pakistan, although only contributing less than 1 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, is one of the most vulnerable countries to the impacts of climate change.” Said CS Sindh

He highlighted that Pakistan incurred a loss of $32 billion from the 2022 floods and is vulnerable to future environmental risks, underscoring the urgent need for proactive measures to mitigate such disasters.

Furthermore, he expressed concerns about the adverse effects of environmental changes on the River Indus. Chief Secretary Sindh Syed Asif Hyder Shah informed that the federal-level Living Indus project has been initiated, after consultation with environmental experts, stakeholders, and provincial governments. He expressed a desire for technical assistance from the British government to address environmental changes.

Syed Asif Hyder Shah also mentioned investment opportunities in energy, investment, and agriculture sectors in Sindh for British investors. British Deputy High Commissioner Sarah Mooney expressed interest in collaborating on the Living Indus project and other projects related to environment. Chief Secretary Sindh presented traditional souvenir to the British Deputy High Commissioner.

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