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 2021-22 at the Sindh Assembly.
The total outlay of the budget for the province is estimated at Rs1.477 trillion, witnessing an increase of 19.1 percent from the previous year. The Chief Minister announced that the development outlay for the budget is estimated at Rs329.033 billion, witnessing an increase of 41.3 percent.
He announced a 25 percent increase in salaries of the government employees besides increasing the minimum wage from Rs 17,000 to Rs25,000. “Other than the police constables, an allowance has been introduced for the government employees,” he added.
Murad Ali Shah announced earmarking an amount of Rs3.20 billion for education, Rs1.70 billion for the IT sector, Rs3 billion for industrial development through small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Rs2 billion for low-cost housing units, and Rs 16 billion for social welfare projects for the citizens.
Rs119.97 billion was earmarked for maintaining law and order situation in the province, besides Rs7.64 billion for the transport department that also included the purchase of 250 diesel hybrid electric buses. The transport and mass transit department also has an allocation of Rs8.2 billion in the provincial ADP.
Referring to the health sector, CM Murad said, “For the next financial year, an allocation of Rs.172 billion is proposed as against an allocation of RS.132.88 billion in 2020-21,” adding that for next financial year, the ADP of health was pitched at Rs.18.5 billion. “The next financial year will witness an increase of 30 percent in total allocation for Health Sector, including medical education,” he added.
The government has allocated Rs.7.6 billion in the next financial year 2021-22 with an overall increase of 10 percent for nine vertical Programmes to combat/control Polio, TB, Aids, Lady Health Worker Programme, Hepatitis control, and expanded program for Immunization and others.
Announcing allocations for education, the Chief Minister said that education was the single most important factor in the development of a nation, adding the Sindh government envisaged providing quality education to all, enabling our children to realize their full potential.
The government has allocated the highest percentage of resources towards education in the year 2021-22. “It will see an increase of 13.5 percent over-allocation of current financial year,” he said, adding that for the next financial year, the government proposes to enhance the budget for education to Rs.277.5 billion from Rs.244.5 billion.
In CFY 2020-21 the ADP allocation for the Educator sector was Rs.21.1 billion, he said adding that it comprised of school education, college education, universities, empowerment for persons with disabilities, and skill development. In FY 2021-22 Government has earmarked Rs.26 billion for the sector.
The chief minister said that a strategy to encourage community-driven economic activities, focusing on supporting home-based businesses, small and medium enterprises, social protection and economic sustainability package of Rs.30.9 billion was proposed for the next financial year 2021-22.
Under next-generation reforms, poverty reduction strategy has been developed which focuses on Community-Driven Local Development (CDLD), rural and urban services hub through cluster approach and enterprise development, Murad Shah said and added this approach was being implemented in district Sujawal as pilot.
“The Sindh government has taken a number of steps towards economic, social, political and legal empowerment of women to realize the dream of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto”, Murad Shah said adding that for next financial year, an allocation for Women Development Department has been increased from Rs.348.581 million to Rs.571.975 million.
The chief minister said that the Sindh Government was fully committed to safeguard the Rights of Minorities as enshrined in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, under Article 25.
“We believe in equality, our policies are not specific for any class, creed or gender,” he said, adding “Even though benefits of our development program are all inclusive, we have provided Rs.750 million as grant-in-aid, in CFY 2020-21.”
The chief minister said that the Welfare of the marginalized sections of the society reflects in the budget of the Current Revenue Expenditure in which Social Welfare Department allocation has been allocated Rs.18.57 billion in the next financial year.
“Today, agriculture is the mainstay of our economy with over 60 percent of our population deriving their sustenance from it”, the CM said adding that PPP government was determined to improve the conditions in Agriculture Sector.
For the next financial year, the government proposed to increase allocation for agricultural sector from Rs.14.8 billion to Rs.15.26 billion. In ADP, Rs.2.28 billion was allocated in current financial year, whereas, in next year 2021-22, an amount of Rs.5 billion was allocated.
The chief minister said that for industrial and economic development, it is imperative that the country was able to meet its energy demands. “The absence of efficient Energy supply will have disastrous consequences for any economy, agrarian, trade and technological alike,” he said, adding that therefore, energy remained on top of development agenda for the dynamic leadership of Sindh government.
Budget Estimates for Current Revenue Expenditure of Energy Department are estimated at 23.26 billion, which includes Rs.21 billion for clearance of outstanding liabilities of electricity dues of various government departments pertaining to DISCOs such as KE, HESCO and SEPCO. The ADP for energy department is pitched at Rs. 2.5 billion for FY 2021-22.