KARACHI  -   Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the provincial government has witnessed a shortfall of Rs104 billion in the federal transfers this year. This declining trend is bound to affect our cash flow and development endeavour.

The chief minister said on Monday while talking to media just after attending National Community Convention organised by HANDS at Gadap. 

To a question, the chief minister said that this year the federal government has transferred Rs104 billion less than the share of the provincial government. “Last year the federal government had transferred Rs266 billion during the first seven month and this year they have transferred only Rs256,” he surprised saying that in the history of Pakistan it was for the first time that the federal transfers have been come down than the previous year.

Murad Shah said that last year in January 2018 the federal government had transferred Rs56 billion and this year [in January] they have transferred only Rs38 billion, he said and added this declining trend was dangerous and would affect our commitments, cash flow and development portfolio badly. “I was moving fast on the development of the province but looking at the federal transfers trend I have stopped development endeavor,” he deplored.

He said he had heard that the federal government that has badly failed to achieve its revenue collection targets was now planning to take away provincial government’s authority of collecting agriculture, GST on goods and other taxes.

Shah said that the provincial during the track record of last five years has shown a 22 percent increase in its revenue collections annually while the federal government could only show eight percent increase. “Instead of appreciating and giving rewards to the provincial government the federal government was planning to take away the power of the provincial government of collecting taxes falling under its domain,” he said. “If the powers of collection of all the taxes go under the command of the federal government what will happen with national and provincial exchequers can only be imagined,” he said.

The chief minister said that the provincial government can collect taxes in a better way than the federal government because the provincial governments were close to the consumers. “I am of the opinion that power of collection of sales tax should be given to the provinces completely,” he said.

Replying to another question, the chief minister said that his government would shortly release arrears of media houses with the condition to give outstanding salaries to their employees. He added that PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari during his visit to Karachi Press Club last week  had assured the newsmen that he work hard to resolve their issues of unemployment, retrenchment and the issues of freedom of expression and speech which he had termed his problems.

Earlier, addressing the National Community Convention, the chief minister said that his government would support HANDS chief Dr Ghaffar Billo to establish a nursing institute. “We would support you in giving you charter for establishing the institute and would strengthen you financially,” he said.

Shah appreciated the HANDS for its health services. “We [Sindh govt] are partner with you in providing health services in the province and I am sure our partnership will flourish with further expansion,” he said.

The chief minister said that the Sindh government was the pioneer of Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode and his government had started PPP in road sector and then expanded it to education, health and now in energy sector.

The chief minister appreciated HNADS for mobilizing communities and generating community leaders to achieve Sustainable Development Goals 2030.

He distributed awards among the best mobilsiers and also visited different stall set up by different district units of HNADS at the convention.

NFC AWARD MEETING: This morning the chief minister chaired a meeting to firm up provincial government recommendations for the 8thNFC Award.

He reiterated his stance that the federal government should hand over the powers of GST collection to the provinces.