Criticism likely to boil on Sindh budget allocation

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Staff Reporter

Karachi

Sindh government will be spending Rs 968.991 billion (over eighty percent) of the province’s total budget on itself.
This money will go into running government affairs, paying salaries, pensions, subsidies and writing off loans. The remaining 19% or Rs232.943 billion will be spent on development expenditure. However, this expense will see a rise of 80.7% as compared last year’s Rs128.919 billion.
Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah presented the provincial budget 2020-21 with estimated expenses of Rs1202 billion against an estimated revenue of Rs1088 billion and would incur a deficit of Rs114 billion during the year.
The employees’ related expenses increased from Rs351.036 billion to Rs413.028 billion – showing a hike of nearly 18 percent. Operating expenses jumped to Rs122.954 billion – a jump of over 65% from last year’s Rs74.234 billion.
Employees’ retirement benefits will also see an increase of over Rs20 billion or 16% from last year’s Rs125 billion to Rs145 billion. The grants, subsidies and write off loans increased by nearly 24% from Rs164.6 billion to Rs203.8 billion.
The salaries of employees from grade 1 to grade 16 increased by 10% and pensions, too, went up by 10%. The Annual Development Programme, which is Sindh government’s equivalent of the center’s Public Sector Development Programme, has been increased to Rs170 billion from last year’s Rs95 billion. The total health expenses will be Rs135.867 billion as compared to last year’s Rs125.696 billion.
Meanwhile, Rs236.161 billion will be spent on education, which has been increased by 29% from last year’s Rs183.266 billion.
‘‘Shah said that the Sindh Government has announced a pro-poor budget despite several constraints due to the challenging COVID-19 pandemic. He added that the government has not imposed any new taxes. The CM faced immense noise from the opposition as he announced the budget in the Sindh Assembly.