KARACHI          -          Sindh’s annual budget for the next financial year 2020-21 will be presented in Sindh Assembly today.

The chief minister would chair a meeting of the cabinet before presenting the budget 2020-21 in the assembly and approval will be given to the budget.

Earlier, speaking at the parliamentary party meeting of the Pakistan People’s Party held here at CM House on Sunday, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah had announced that he would present the annual budget for the next financial year on June 17 (Wednesday).

The CM said that before presenting the budget 2020-21 in the assembly, he would chair a meeting of the cabinet to approve the budget. He said that the coronavirus had not only affected the people but it had badly affected the budget estimates for the next year.

“Despite critical conditions, I will try my best to provide relief to the poor people of the province through budgetary measures,” he said.

He said that in the next budget priorities would be given to the health sector under which new facilities would be established.  “We have to contain the virus which is spreading throughout the province,” he said.

He said that coronavirus was claiming more lives every day and number of cases being reported daily had crossed 2000 cases. “This is a serious situation, therefore, our people have to adopt precautionary measures and we have to further strengthen our health system,” he added. Mr Shah said water and sanitation sector, poverty reduction, development of social sector and revival of provincial economy would be given top priorities in the upcoming budget.

However, he said, instead of launching new schemes focus would be on completion of ongoing schemes.

Mr Shah said that after coronavirus, locust swarm attack was a standing threat to the agro-economy of the province. “This threat may cause food security issues in the province,” he said.

The chief minister said that due to coronavirus necessary measures for ensuring social distancing in the assembly would be taken.

“We, in consultation with opposition members in the assembly, are trying to develop SOPs for the budget session,” he said.

He added that 573 patients were in critical condition and 80 of them were shifted on ventilators.

Mr Shah said that 1,219 patients recovered overnight and discharged.

“The number of patients recovered so far has reached to 25,606, which shows 47.7pc recovery rate,” he added.

Giving district-wise details, the CM said that out of 2,287 cases 1,499 belonged to Karachi, they include 418 in South, 369 in East, 242 in Central, 185 in Korangi, 16 in West and 122 cases in Malir.

He said that Sukkur had 68, Khairpur 49, Hyderabad 44, Ghotki 39, Matiari 38, Shaheed Benazirabad 37, Larkana 22, Sanghar 20, Mirpurkhas 15, Kashmore 14, Jamshoro 13, Sujawal 10, Thatta eight, Shikarpur and Dadu seven each, Badin four, Umerkot and Naushehro Feroze three each, and Kambar and Jacobabad had one each case.

The chief minister urged people of Sindh to follow the SOPs, wear masks while going out of home and avoid crowding.