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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

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Sindh Food Authority inks MoAs with ICCBS to ensure safe, hygienic, healthy food

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KARACHI: Sindh Food Authority (SFA), Government of Sindh, has signed two Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi.

Sindh Food Authority signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Halal Certification Testing and Research Services (HCTRS) and the Industrial Analytical Center (IAC), ICCBS, University of Karachi.

This MoA aims to create a long-term framework of collaboration, cooperation, and development of a strong linkage between SFA and the research centers of the ICCBS for the testing of food products, which is in the interest of both institutions.

The SFA Director General Agha Fakhar Hussain and Prof. Dr. Farzana Shaheen, the Director of the ICCBS, University of Karachi, signed the agreement in a meeting held at the HEJ, Research Institute of Chemistry, University of Karachi on Friday evening.

Among others who attended the meeting were officials from SFA Prof. Dr. Asad Sayyed, Dr. Naveed Bhutto, Dr. Seema, Danish Arshad, and officials from ICCBS, including Prof. Dr. Abid Ali, Prof. Dr. Syed Ghulam Musharraf, Prof. Dr. Shabana Simjee, Prof. Dr. Asmat Salim, Dr. Imran Malik, Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad Khan, Dr. Shakil Ahmed, Jawaid Riaz, and others.

In his talk, the SFA Director-General praised the efforts made by the ICCBS administration to make this agreement possible in the interest of Sindh province. He also praised the industrial support and national services of the International Center (ICCBS).

He said the authority’s goal was to guarantee that the people of Sindh were fed in a safe, hygienic, and healthy manner by standards.

I want to have strong relations between SFA and the ICCBS, University of Karachi, he said, adding that SFA is trying to make all possible efforts to provide better food items to the people of Sindh.

Speaking on the occasion, Prof. Farzana Shaheen congratulated the officials of the SFA and ICCBS on the signing of the agreement. She hoped that this agreement would further strengthen the University’s HCTRS and IAC in the province.

Halal Testing Laboratory works to standardize and uplift the high-quality standard of nutrition & hygiene in Halal-certified food & other products by international export quality standards, she said.

Talking about IAC, the director said that IAC was doing their best to meet customer’s testing requirements with integrity, reliability, accuracy, precision of data, and timeliness of reports to achieve customer satisfaction and define specifications in compliance with ISO/IEC Laboratory Accreditation System and ISO 9001Quality Management System.

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DG Sindh Food Authority Agha Fakhar disburses certificates

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KARACHI: Director General of the Sindh Food Authority Agha Fakhar Hussain distributed certificates among the participants at the HEJ, University of Karachi.

The certificates were given away to the participants of the highly prestigious Training Programme over Halal Food and Meat Detection Methods Training and Inter-laboratory Comparison for Organisation of Islamic cooperation (OIC) countries (2022-SMIC-006) held at Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in hybrid format on October 23, 2023. The certificate were signed by the SMIIC General Secretary.  

Prof. Dr. Syed Ghulam Musharraf (Tamgha-e- Imtiaz) and Prof. Dr. Farzana Sheen attended the event.

The SMIIC (Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries) is an intergovernmental and one of the 17 affiliated organizations of the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation). Its primary focus is on standardization and metrology technical elements.

Pakistani candidates participated through online sessions. The participants were selected through a detailed procedure and tests.

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Sindh Food Authority appoints Dr Rashida Irtifaq as its Ambassador

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KARACHI: The Sindh Food Authority (SFA) is to appoint prominent educationist Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq Ali as Honorary Senior Food Safety and Hygiene Ambassador.

In light of this significant appointment, a ceremony has been scheduled for January 9, 2024 at Jinnah Auditorium Dr AQ Khan Institute of Bio-Technology and Genetic Engineering, University of Karachi.

Caretaker Chief Minister Sindh Justice (R) Maqbool Baqar, Secretary Food, Government of Sindh and other dignitaries will attend the event to support the vision of the Sindh Food Authority.

Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq Ali has been an integral part of Karachi University for the past fifty years where she not only fulfilled her teaching responsibilities but also played a pivotal role in establishing the Department of Food Sciences and Technology.

At the age of 85, Dr Rashida Ali continues to serve in academia and the industry, demonstrating an unparalleled commitment to education.

While talking to Sindhnews, Sindh Food Authority’s Director General Agha Fakhar Hussain said that the food authority had recognized contributions of Professor Dr Rashida Irtifaq by appointing her as the Honorary Senior Food Safety and Hygiene Ambassador, a position that reflects her expertise and dedication to the field.

The appointment of Dr Rashida Irtifaq will not only acknowledge her achievements but will also provide an opportunity to raise awareness among university students about the principles of health preservation related to food consumption.

In the event, Dr Rashida Irtifaq will also be presented with a shield by the Sindh Food Authority as a token of appreciation for her outstanding contributions, says Agha Fakhar.

The Sindh Food Authority was established in April 2018 under the SFA Act 2016 and the Authority has been established Under Section-3 (1) of the Act ibid with the mandate to provide safe, hygienic and health food to the people of Sindh, he adds.

The Authority is performing its functions accordingly as per the Sindh Food Authority Act 2016 but the major hurdle is the lack of awareness among general masses and food handlers at large, regarding the food safety and hygiene principles.

The authority’s mandate to provide safe, healthy and hygienic food to the people of Sindh can not only be achieved witht eh coercive measures but it requires general awareness campaign among the masses and food handlers and the issue demands the participation of all segments of the society, the DG concluded.

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