KARACHI - The annual budget of Sindh with estimated outlay of Rs 650 billion for the fiscal year 2013-14 will be presented today (Monday).

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah will present the annual budget in the Sindh Assembly session at 4pm. Of the estimated total outlay of over Rs 650 billion, the government has allocated Rs 365 billion for non-development expenditures of provincial and district governments to pay salaries and fulfill other recurring expenses.

Against the current year’s total development budget of Rs 231 billion, including Rs 181 billion for provincial and district governments and foreign as well as federal-funded projects, the Sindh government has decided to raise development budget to over Rs 250 billion, which include Rs 190 billion for Annual Development Programme (ADP) for uplift schemes of provincial departments and district governments, while about Rs 60 billion foreign and federal-funded projects would be part of the total development outlay for the next fiscal year.

Sources said 10pc to 15pc increase in the salaries and pensions of employees of the Sindh government, creation of 16,000 new jobs in the government departments and 7,500 proposed recruitments in the police, subsidy on tractors’ distribution among small farmers and special packages for major cities would be prominent factors of the Sindh budget for the fiscal year 2013-14.

Under a plan to raise the provincial revenue, the Sindh government has decided, in principle, to impose infrastructure tax on heavy vehicles using Sindh’s seaports and roads to carry goods to Afghanistan under Pak-Afghan Transit Trade. In addition, the PPP government has proposed to bring doctors, architects, beauty parlours and other professions under the professional tax net through the Sindh Revenue Board in the next budget.

At the eleventh hour, while finalizing the budget proposals, the PPP government is expected to raise the funds to be earmarked for Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Mirpurkhas cities under special packages on MQM demand as talks are under way between the two sides to bring the former partner back to the ruling fold.

Against the total allocation of Rs 4.4 billion for Karachi, including Lyari and Keamari, in the current fiscal year, the PPP government is likely to raise allocation to over Rs 7 billion for economic hub of the country, which include Rs 1 billion for Karachi Circular Railway, Rs 500 million for 200 new buses under public-private partnership and huge allocations for K-1V (Karachi-1V drinking water project) and S-111 sewerage project of the city.

Among the proposed sector-wise allocations, sources said the PPP government has planned to increase the law and order budget to Rs 49 billion for police, Rangers, Frontier Constabulary And Civil Defence in the next budget against Rs 39 billion of the current year’s allocations.

To ease the electricity woes of the people of the province, the Sindh government has proposed allocation of total Rs 21 billion for the energy sector, which include Rs 13 billion for development and infrastructure projects of Thar Coal, wind, solar and other power projects under public-private partnership. The education and health sectors would get more allocations followed by the law and order in the new budget.

Sources said the Sindh government has proposed subsidy of Rs 1 billion on the distribution of tractors among small farmers at subsidised rates. In addition, a scheme of distribution of government land among farmers, especially women, would be introduced in the new budget.

The Sindh government is likely to allocate more funds for “Benazir Waseela-e-Haq” programme under which a small microcredit of Rs 0.3 million would be given to women to initiate small businesses. Besides continuing the Benazir Youth Development Programme, the Sindh government is likely to start Benazir Income Support Porgramme for women.

An amount of Rs 60 million for each MPA, whether they are from opposition or treasury benches, would be allocated under MPAs’ priority programme.

The expected receipts of the Sindh government would be Rs 330 billion from the federal government under federal divisible pool of NFC Award, Rs 65 billion under straight transfers on account of royalty on natural gas and crude oil and Rs 10 billion receipts from the federal government in lieu of abolished octroi and zila tax.

Moreover, Rs 60 billion from the provincial tax net, excluding GST on services, Rs 30 billion from provincial non-tax receipts and Rs 42 billion are expected from general sales tax on services.

The Sindh government has already announced that salaries of the government employees would be raised by 15 per cent, while allocation for social sector would be raised in the next budget.

Instead of following the federal and Balochistan government, the Sindh government has decided to continue discretionary funds for the chief minister and other authorities of the government in the next budget.

A development analyst opined that instead of raising allocations for sectors, the people of Sindh wanted to see a change in the governing system at government level and austerity measures as well as a significant cut in reduction of non-development expenditures of the provincial government and abolishment of discretionary funds of the chief minister and other ministers in the next year’s budget.