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Sindh CM unveils Rs1.713tr tax-free deficit budget for FY 2022-23

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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Tuesday presented Rs1.713 trillion tax-free deficit budget for the Fiscal Year 2022-23.

The total receipts of the provincial government for next financial year would stand at Rs1,679,734.8 against the expenditures of Rs1,713,583.1 billion which shows a deficit of Rs33.848 billion deficit.

In his budget speech, Murad Ali Shah told that the overall revenue receipts would come to Rs1,679,734.8 billion, including Rs1.055billion federal transfers, Rs374.5 billion provincial receipts (Rs167.5 billion provincial tax receipts excluding GST on services, Rs180 billion provincial sales tax on services and Rs27,000 million provincial non-tax receipts), Rs51,132.8 million current capital receipts, Rs105,567.5 million other transfers such as foreign project assistance, federal grants and foreign grants and Rs20,000 million carry over cash balance and public accounts of the province.

He added that the provincial tax collecting organizations would achieve their collection targets such as Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) Rs180 billion, Excise & Taxation Rs1.20 bn and Board of Revenue Rs30 billion.

Expenditures: The chief minister said that the current revenue expenditures for next financial year would be Rs1,199,445.4 million, Current capital Expenditures Rs54.48 billion, Development portfolio Rs459.65 billion, including Rs332.165 billion provincial ADP, Rs30 billion district ADP, and RS91.467 billion Foreign Assistance Project (FAP) and Rs6.02 billion other federal grants.

According to the CM the provincial government, during the 11 months (July to May) of outgoing financial year, has received Rs716 billion against a share of Rs732 billion which shows a shortfall of Rs16 billion. Mr Shah added that his government during the said period received Rs45 billion in straight transfers and in OZT by receiving Rs18.9 billion against a share of Rs19.7 billion.

Annual Development Program: The provincial government has allocated Rs332.165 billion for Annual development Program (ADP) 2022-23 while it was Rs222.5 billion during outgoing year. The district ADP size has been kept at Rs30 billion as was done during the current financial year.

The chief minister disclosed that 4,158 schemes, including 2506 on-going and 1652 new schemes have been given an allocation of Rs332.165 billion. He added that the on-going 2506 schemes have been given 76 percent funds or Rs253.146 billion allocation and 1652 new schemes have been allocated 24 percent funds or Rs79.019 billion. The CM announced that 1510 schemes would be completed in FY 2022-23.   

Social Protection package: The chief minister announced a Rs26.850 billion pro-poor, social protection and economic sustainability package.

Pay & Pension: The chief minister announced that the Adhoc Relief Allowances 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 at the rates admissible to employees of Federal government were being merged and Revised Basic Pay Scale 2022 for Civil Servants of Sindh government was being introduced on the pattern of Federal Government.

He also announced Adhoc Relief Allowance at the rate of 15 percent of Basic Pay Scales to government servants from 1st July 2022. “Disparity Allowance at the rate of 33 percent of Basic Pay will be paid to Civil Servants in BPS-1 to 16 and at the rate of 30 percent to Civil Servants in BPS-17 and above in lieu of the differential rate of Ad-hoc Relief Allowances 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021, which are being abolished from July, 2022,” he said.

Mr Shah announced that all the provinces have not presented their budgets. “If they decide to increase the salaries of their employees more than the employees of the Sindh government, we would take decisions accordingly though the salaries and pensions of our employees are better than the employees of other provinces,” he said.

Pension: The CM said that the Pensioners of Sindh government were already getting 22.5% more increase in net pension than pensioners of the Federal Government till February 2022. Therefore, he said an increase at the rate of 5% of net pension would be paid to the pensioners of the Sindh Government from 1st July, 2022.

According to Murad Ali Shah, after the announcement of 10% increase in net pension by the Federal Government in March 2022 and enhancement of the rate of increase to 15% from 1st July 2022, the pensioners of Government of Sindh would still be getting 12.5% more of net pension than the pensioners of Federal Government. The chief minister also announced to upgrade the post of police constables from grade BS-5 to grade BS-7.

Relief in SST: The chief minister announced to exempt toll manufacturing services from SST. He addd that 5% reduced SST rate for “Recruiting Agents” would continue for next two years – means up to 30th June, 2024. This relief is proposed for Pakistanis aspiring to work overseas.

Mr Shah said that the Services provided by Cable TV Operators were levied at a reduced rate of 10%, the existing relief was proposed to be extended for a further period of two years ending on 30th June, 2024.

The cable TV operators are proposed to be exempted, including the Cable TV Operators in rural areas under PEMRA License of “R” Category to be exempt from SST till 30th June, 2023. The rate of SST on commission charges received by food delivery channels (like Foodpanda, Cheetay Logistics, etc.) from Home Chefs has been reduced from 13% to 8% for a period of two  years ending on 30th June, 2024. In all other cases, the services provided or rendered by Commission Agents shall continue to be liable to SST at 13%.

The existing exemption on health insurance services will continue further for a period of one year till 30th June, 2023. GIZ, a German development agency, facilitating development projects in Sindh, has also been granted conditional exemption on Sales tax on services as indirect relief to the Public.

Education: The CM said that his government has kept the Education Sector at its top priority by allocating Rs. 326.80 billion which forms more than 25 percent of total budget outlay. He added that the Health Sector has also been given top priority by pitching budgetary allocation at Rs. 230.30 billion which forms more than 19 percent of total budget outlay.

Universities: The Sindh Government has adopted a policy to either establish a full-fledged university or a campus of a recognized public university in at least seven districts one each in Korangi, Karachi West, Keamari, Malir, Tando M. Khan, Tando Allah Yar, and Sujawal. Korangi will have a University of Technology & Skill, Vocational/ Industrial Development, while Karachi West and Keamari will have sub-campuses of this university. Malir will have a sub-campus of NED University. Likewise, Tando M. Khan and Tando Allah Yar will be given sub-campuses of IBA Karachi or Sukkur IBA and Sujawal will have a sub-campus of Mehran University.

Health: The total outlay of the health budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 is earmarked at Rs. 206.98 billion, covering primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare level services, preventive interventions as well as other communicable and non-communicable diseases. This year the health sector budget is 14% higher in comparison to Rs. 181.22 billion during FY 2021-22.

Law & Order: For the next financial year 2022-23, the total allocation for the Home Department, including Sindh Police and Jails, has been enhanced to Rs. 124.873 billion from Rs. 119.98 billion during the current financialyear.

Irrigation & Agriculture: For the next financial year 2022-23, the budget for irrigation has been enhanced from Rs.21.231 billion to Rs.24.091 billion. Allocation for the Agriculture & Irrigation department in ADP 2022-23 is Rs.36.2 billion.

KWSB: The Water & Sewerage sector has been given Rs. 224.675 billion in the financial year 2022-23. The two major schemes of the city will be executed during the coming financial year. They are:

·      Re-Settlement of affectees of Gujjar, Mehmoodabad & Orangi Nallahs, for Rs. 9.423 billion.

·      Greater Karachi Bulk Water Scheme K-IV Augmentation Works for Rs. 511.724 billion.

SSWMB: The Sindh government  has increased its budget from Rs. 8.00 billion to Rs. 12.00 billion for the next financial year 2022-23. The government intends to further expand operations of Sindh Solid Waste Management Board to other Districts in the next financial year which include Hyderabad, Qasimabad, Kotri, Sukkur City and Rohri.

Procurement process has already been completed and operations shall start later this year. In view of the extended operations of SSWMB has.

Social Protection dept: For the next financial year 2022-23 budget allocation for the Social Protection Department has been earmarked at Rs.15.435 billion. In order to improve the wellbeing and welfare of senior citizens, orphans, and the poor, several social programs are being initiated and financed from the next financial year 2022-23

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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