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Murad Ali Shah presents budget 2020-21 in Sindh Assembly

KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh, Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio for provincial finance minister, has presented the provincial budget for the next financial year 2020-21 at the Sindh Assembly.
Special arrangements have been made in the Sindh Assembly in the wake of coronavirus situations while a large number of lawmakers were attended the budget session online. 
The budget session began under Speaker Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani, where chief minister Murad, started presenting the outlay.
In his speech, the CM said that he is honored to present the budget for the eighth time. CM said this year the budget is being presented under quite difficult situations, adding as the country is fighting the COVID-19 outbreak and locust attacks at the same time.
The total outlay of the provincial budget for Financial Year 2020-21 stands at Rs1.24 trillion. “I am proud to be presenting the budget for the eighth time,” said the CM.
COVID-19 epidemic
Murad Ali Shah in his speech said COVID-19 outbreak, which has not only been a health crisis but has also created economic issues due to lockdown imposed throughout the country. He said the Sindh government initiated a humanist approach to battle this pandemic, similar to China, Taiwan, and New Zealand.
“The world has changed the direction of its resources to face the enemy,” said Murad Ali Shah, while applauding the role of healthcare workers and paramedic staff.
The budget of the health department has been increased by 16.1pc to Rs139 billion to deal with epidemics and contagious diseases.
CM Murad said that basic salary Health Risk Allowance will be given to all health workers,  including postgraduates and house job officers working in COVID-19 cases applicable from March 2020.
The chief minister said people have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that the pandemic had effected poor families and resulted in to increase in poverty.
Poverty Alleviation
Sindh Chief Minister said Rs3 billion has been earmarked for poverty alleviation programs for small businesses in urban areas.
 Rs2 billion proposed for poverty alleviation program for small workers/communities in rural areas informed CM, whereas, Rs20 billion is estimated for cash transfer under the `Sindh Peoples Support Programme’.
Sindh Chief Minister further informed that the budget of the agriculture department has been increased by 40% to Rs 15.84 billion. “The main reason for this is the subsidy package for small farmers and locust heart control,” he added. He said that the provincial government has allocated Rs440 million for locust control.
Rs1 billion has been allocated to small farmers as a concession for quality rice seeds. Rs1 billion has been allocated for fertilizer subsidy to small farmers, he said. Rs1 billion has been allocated to small farmers as subsidy for pesticides, CM Murad said.
Rs5 billion allocated for a soft loan program for small and medium enterprises through Sindh Bank, Murad Ali Shah added.
He said  Rs 700 million is suggested for IT Technology Intervention and Innovation Solution, whereas, Rs500 million has been earmarked for startups incubators and accelerators based on supporting technology.
Annual Development Program
Sindh Chief Minister said provincial ADP is estimated at Rs155 billion, whereas, District ADP is estimated at Rs15 billion.
Federally funded projects are estimated at Rs 8.3 billion, Sindh Chief Minister said. Foreign-funded projects are estimated at Rs54.64 billion. Public-private partnership projects for infrastructure development are estimated at Rs117 billion.
CM Sindh also informed over 2,500 youths will be trained in various commercial jobs through the private and public sector, whereas, 70,000 youths will be provided training opportunities regarding COVID-19.
The chief minister said the budget of education departments has been increased by 10.2pc to Rs243 billion for quality education and to address post-epidemic education challenges. Grant to local councils increased by 5pc to Rs78 billion.
CM Murad said that the non-development expenditure was estimated at Rs968.99 billion while the development expenditure was estimated at Rs232.94 billion and the capital expenditure was estimated at Rs39.19 billion.
Tax Collection
The chief minister said no new tax has been introduced in Budget 21-2020. According to the CM, total receipts were estimated to be Rs1.22 trillion, including federal receipts at Rs760.30 billion which accounts for 65 percent, provincial receipts at Rs313.39 billion or 26.8 percent, capital receipts at Rs25 billion i.e 2.1 percent and other receipts at (FPA & PSDP) Rs69.05 billion (5.9 percent).
The minister informed that the overall federal receipts decreased by Rs71.72 billion i.e. 9pc lower than the current financial year 2019-20. Whereas, the overall provincial receipts are estimated at Rs313.4 billion, showing an increase of 9 percent than the current financial year.
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