KARACHI: Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah presented the budget for the next fiscal year 2020-21 in the Sindh Assembly today.
The budget session began under Speaker Assembly Agha Siraj Durrani, where Shah, who also holds the portfolio for provincial finance minister, put forth the outlay for the current year.
In his speech, the CM said that he is honoured to present the budget for the eighth time.
“This year, the budget is being presented under quite difficult circumstances,” he said, adding that the country is battling the pandemic and locust attacks at the same time.
He said that the Sindh government has formed a Rs3 billion Corona Emergency Fund and Sindh took the initiative for the lockdown and the other provinces followed suit.
CM Murad said that from the Rs3 billion, the provincial government paid Rs1.3 billion while Rs1.7 billion were given by the provincial employees.
“In 2020-21, the estimate of expenditure on Health Risk Allowance is Rs1.0 billion,” he said, adding that the testing capacity for the virus has been raised to 11,450 daily.
In all the districts, there are 81 quarantine centres with 8,266 beds, and in June 2020 it has been increased to 8,616, he told the assembly.
The CM said that 101 additional ventilators were bought and a local hospital at Karachi’s Nipa Chowrangi was given a grant of Rs2.0 billion.
“A committee was formed to give timely and adequate facilities,” said Shah, elaborating that the committee bought machinery and tools worth Rs2.43 billion to deal with the pandemic.
The CM Sindh further said that for the education sector, Rs21.1 billion have been allocated for 11 new, unapproved projects.
For the pre-existing 265 schemes and four new ones, Rs 13.2 billion have been set aside, said Shah.
Earlier, Chief Minister Shah presided over a cabinet session at the CM House today to review budget recommendations.
In the meeting, the cabinet gave approval for raising the salaries of government employees by 10 %, according to the provincial government spokesperson.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the rules of the Assembly were slightly altered so the members could attend the session virtually from their homes.
According to sources, only 25% of the lawmakers will attend the session in-person.
Special measures have been taken ahead of the session to ensure the safety of the lawmakers as those MPAs will be allowed inside who have tested negative for the virus.
Among other recommendations in the budget documents, Rs5 billion have been allocated to deal with the pandemic measures.
The documents showed that there was no new agricultural research scheme in the provincial budget.
The recommendations also included the allocation of Rs7.2 billion for Malir Expressway and Rs1.86 billion for Karachi-Thatta double-track road.