Sindh's Senior Minister for Finance and Cooperation
Syed Sardar Ahmed on June 10 presented a Rs. 143 billion provincial
budget amid thumping desks and the opposition's strong protest who
regarded it unconstitutional in the absence of National Finance
Commission (NFC) award.
Ahmed, giving broader break of the budget, proposed
revenue expenditure of Rs.118.93 billion, which would be a 12.5
percent increase over current year. These expenditures are against
receipts of Rs.112.95 billion that also include Rs.52 billion federal
transfers from divisible pool. The budget entailed an 8.99 billion
deficit but the development expenditures which are conventionally
called Annual Development Plan (ADP) stood at Rs.28.75 billion and
thus implied record deficit as funding of ADP has not been clearly
defined in the budget statistics.
This deficit distressed more to the inhabitants of
the province as the Punjab province had presented a surplus budget of
Rs.224 billion showing an increase of over 24 percent compared to
outgoing fiscal and offered an over Rs.43 billion surplus.
Salient features suggest that the share of district
governments is estimated at Rs.37.16 billion in the year 2005-06 in
accordance with their share in net provincial divisible pool as
determined by provincial finance commission. In addition, an amount of
Rs. 11 billion will be provided to local governments in lieu of octroi
Zila tax grants. The overall transfers to local government will be Rs.
50 billion against revised estimates of 46.86 billion, depicting an
increase of 3.85 billion.
While typically allocating money for conventional
heads of road sector, special projects, irrigation and power,
education, mines and mineral, health, and special development sectors,
no effective strategy was announced to generate employment for the
The highest priority is assigned to road sector
with an allocation of Rs.3.5 billion, which is 20.35 percent of the
total allocation. With these funds Works and Services Department would
construct 155 kilometers of new road while 175 kilometers of existing
road will be revamped.
For special projects, an amount of Rs.1.43 billion
has been allocated. Under this, schemes included are: drinking water
supply scheme in Thar, being executed by Army, Gorakh Hill Station
development project and improvement of Dhamal Court at the Shrine of
Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar.
For irrigation and power sector, Rs.1.1 billion
have been earmarked. Out of this Rs.0.57 billion have been proposed
for ongoing schemes, including an allocation of Rs.100 million for
assuring water supply to Karachi. Besides, Rs.198.93 million have been
proposed for new schemes of water sector and village electrification
For Education sector, an amount of Rs.1 billion has
been allocated i.e. 51.5 percent more than current year's allocation
of Rs.0.66 billion. An amount of Rs.0.60 billion will also be
available as foreign project assistance. District governments will
also allocate amount through their share of development allocation.
This sector will also receive funds on the recommendations of
After the discovery of coal in Thar, mines and
mineral sector has received budget priority so that the valuable coal
reserves could be utilized for power generation. In the next financial
year, an amount of Rs.0.99 billion, which is 55.6 percent higher than
the current year, has been allocated to this sector. The major schemes
include road from Islamkot to Nagar Parkar, from Badin to Mithi and
Health sector has been provided an amount of Rs.79
billion in the next year's development programme. That is 32.5 percent
higher over the outgoing year. The Sindh government has also proposed
to provide medical care to its employees through health insurance.
Under special development package, the provincial
government has kept an amount of Rs.4 billion. Rs.2 billion would go
to Karachi, whereas Hyderabad and Rural packages would get Rs.1
The provincial government has also followed the
federal budget in accordance with the recommendations of Pay and
Pension Committee and has proposed to provide relief in pay and
pension to the provincial government employees. Provincial and
district governments will spend Rs.12 billion on increase on this
The province enjoys no arrangement for the general
public against major hazards like ill health, disability, old age,
involuntary unemployment and sudden death. Besides Zakat and Baitul
Mal, the exiting social security system is restricted to groups like
government servant, armed forces and industrial labour only.
Nevertheless, the provincial finance minister made
an announcement of Rs.3 billion for the next fiscal year to create a
fund for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged segment of society. A
board comprising members from public and private sector will manage
the fund and the target group would be distressed persons including
senior citizens, abandoned families and indigents.
NOT SUFFICIENT TO CATER DETRIORATING NEEDS
However, the resources allocated for the purpose
are scanty. State Bank of Pakistan, in its one of the recent reports,
had warned of the increasing unemployment and poverty in the province.
The province-wise data shows that improvement, if
it has really come, in the employment rate was not across the board.
Unemployment rates increased in Sindh and Balochistan and it rose in
Sindh because of higher growth of labour force.