KARACHI: Sindh Finance Minister Murad Ali Shah has said that Sindh is the energy basket of the country as only Thar coal project has the potential to meet 95 percent energy requirements of the country and that was why Rs 13 billion were allocated for the project in the last budget of the present democratic government.
Addressing the post-budget press conference at the Chief Minister’s House on Tuesday, he said that besides education and health, energy was focused significantly in the budget and overall, a sum of Rs 18 billion would be spent in the sector. He was of the view that these steps for the project was being taken, owing to the national responsibility. He said that under the vision of the present government, massive amount of Rs 112 billion, which was almost 20 percent of the total budget, would be spent on education and Rs 15 billion on health department.
He further said that the education budget was 600 times larger as compared to the educational budget of 2007, after which Pakistan People’s Party had joined the ruling office. Similarly, he said the present government had raised the health budget from Rs 1.4 billion to Rs15 billion during the ongoing tenure. Talking about salaries and pensions of the public sector, he said that following the federal government, pensions and salaries of government employees have been raised by 20 percent and overall during last four years 250 percent increased had been made in this regard, besides brining an average increase of 500 percent in the salaries of judiciary.
He said that this year the government had announced largest annual development programme, ever presented in the history of the province. He added that Rs 20 billion had been allocated for districts, out of total allocation of Rs 231 billion. Talking about the development schemes in the province, Additional Finance Secretary Malik Asrar informed media at the conference that total 2,611 ongoing and new schemes were approved for total allocation of around Rs 160 billion. He said that Rs 112 billion have been allocated for ongoing and Rs 48 billion for new schemes. He further said that his year 482 schemes have been completed, while 700 would be culminated in upcoming facial year.
He said that 2,500 water hubs would be completed during ongoing year, with capacity to provide three to four villages. Besides this, he added that Rs 8 billion have been allocated for embankments. Responding to queries of media men, Sindh finance minister said that 7,500 new jobs would be created in police department, while 4,000 vacancies were already vacant in police department, which would be filled. Similarly 8,000 new vacancies would be created in the education department, 2,500 in health department and 250 in other sectors. He informed media that Rs 1.2 billion had been allocated for Rangers in the province and their requirements would be met. To a question, he said that Zulfiqarabad would be made as an economic zone with the support of foreign and local investors.
The project would produce 25,000 jobs, besides brining boost in various industries, he added. He further said that they presented a budget with deficit of around Rs 7 billion due to requirements of development sector. To a question about the policy of the government for mitigating grieves of poor people, he said that provision of subsidy on commodities was not possible for the provincial government due to shortage of funds. He said that the government was determined not to let the funds fall prey to corruption and all measures would be taken in this regard. A total of 19-member delegation, including Sindh Information Minister Shazia Marri, Adviser to Sindh Chief Minister Waqar Mehdi were also present at the press conference.-Dailytimes