Sindh gives go-ahead to wheat export
KARACHI – The Sindh cabinet, which met for the second time in a week, on Wednesday gave the go-ahead to the export of five million tonnes of wheat through open sale, establishment of Provincial Grid Company for construction four 792 Kv grid stations of renewable plants and also approved the bill of Abdul Majid Bhurgri Institute for Language Engineering.
The provincial cabinet, however, opposed procurement and fell short of taking up any plan for 2018-19.
The cabinet met with Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in the chair at the New Secretariat with the participation of Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, all provincial ministers, advisers, special assistants and other high-ups concerned.
RESERVATION ON PROCUREMENT
The Food Department requested the cabinet to set new procurement target of wheat for the harvesting season 2018-19, which proposed a target of 0.5 million tonnes. The department had procured 1.4 MMT wheat during the last crop at a rate of Rs1,300 per 40kg (Rs3,250 per 100 kg).
To a question raised by the Sindh CM, the Food Department informed the cabinet that currently there is a surplus stock of 0.8 million tonnes of wheat with the department, which included 360,000 tonnes of last year crop.
On the occasion, the chief minister in consultation with the cabinet members, decided to export 0.5 million tonnes of wheat through “Open House Sale.” A committee was also constituted under supervision of Food Minister Hari Ram with the finance and food secretaries as its members, to approach exporters and facilitate them to export 0.5 million tonnes of wheat.
Most of the cabinet members opposed fresh procurement drive, arguing that it [procurement] has never benefitted the small growers. They maintained that purpose of the procurement is to stablise wheat prices in the market, encourage small growers and develop some stocks with the food department to intervene in case of any emergency or shortage of wheat.
The cabinet members said that as a matter of fact the small growers have never taken benefit out of government procurement drive. The cabinet were of the view that government is earning a bad name despite spending millions of rupees on wheat procurement and top of this the food owned Rs100 billion debt of commercial banks. Therefore, the cabinet members opposed the new procurement and said “let the market decide the new rates.”
The cabinet decided to talk to exporters first for export of wheat and then the next cabinet meeting would decide procurement target.
PROVINCIAL GRID COMPANY
During the meeting, the energy department presented an item pertaining to the establishment of a Provincial Grid Company so that four grid stations of 792 Kv of renewable energy could be constructed in the province.
Minister Energy Imtiaz Shaikh and Secretary Energy Musadiq briefed the cabinet that Sindh has already established Sindh Transmission and Dispatch Company (STDC) for evacuation of 100MW electricity from Sindh Nooriabad Power Company to KE with 95km long transmission line.
The professional team of STDC has the capacity and capability to operate as provincial grid company. The Provincial Grid Company, which would be a part of STDC would construct five projects. They are 220kV Nooriabad Grid Station & Associated Transmission Lines for wind power projects, 220Kv Jhimpir Grid Station & associated transmission for wind power projects, 220kV Gharo Grid Station & transmission line for wind power project, two 132kV Grid Stations and 132kv transmission line of around 25km in KWSB K-IV project to supply power to pumping stations- I & II. It would provide Battery Storage System (BSS) in all the above grid stations to over the intermittency problem in Renewable Energy Systems.
Education & Culture Minister Sardar Shah informed the cabinet that with a view to provide for development and advancement of Sindhi language engineering and bring Sindhi Language on par with national and international languages, it is expedient to establish Institute of Abdul Majid Bhurgri Institute for Language Engineering (AMBILE).
Abdul Majid Bhurgri is the founder of computing in Sindhi language. His work from 1987-88 enabled the use of Sindhi language on personal computers and revolutionised the Sindhi printing and publishing industry.
The culture minister told the cabinet members that building to house AMBILE has been constructed in Hyderabad. Now time has come to functionalise it by making necessary legislation for development of Sindhi language to cater for the modern day challenges. He said that the institute would have the facility to converted old printed Sindhi books into word form to reprint them. In this way, all the old and precious books would be reprinted.
The cabinet approved the bill and referred it to the assembly.
CANCELLATION OF MOU WITH NICVD
The health department presented an agenda with the request to the cabinet to cancel the MoU between Health Department and NICVD Karachi so that the management of cardiovascular units established by the Sindh government in its hospitals and other medical institutions could be taken over.
These units or hospitals include Civil Hospital Mithi, Civil Hospital Khairpur, Lyari General hospital, LUMHS Hyderabad, Syed Abdullah Shah Institute Sehwan, Chandka Medical University and Faryal Talpur Cardiac Surgery Complex Larkana, Coronary Cardiac Unit, Tando Mohammad Khan, PMC Hospital Nawabshah, Worker Welfare Fund Hospital, Sukkur.
The cabinet was told that the Sindh government has passed an Act `Sindh Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases (SICVD) – 2018, therefore newly created health facilities of cardiovascular Diseases have become the part of SICVD.
The chief minister said that the provincial government has filed a review in the Supreme Court to take back all the three institutions, NICVD, JPMC and NICH returned to federal government. At this stage cancellation of MoU between the NICVD and health department may affect the case. Therefore, he constituted a committee under him with minister health, Advisor law, Advocate general Sindh, secretary law and secretary health to review the legal position. In case the cancellation of MoU was necessary then it would be deemed as cancelled.
The Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) proposed to levy Sindh Sales Tax on Services Health and Life Insurance, Cable Operators and on contractors and construction services. The chief minister said that at present the overall financial position of the people of the province were not stable. Therefore, these proposals may be placed in the cabinet next time so that these levies could be imposed from the next financial year.
The cabinet also approved Sindh Public Finance Administration Act 2019 under which more financial powers have been devolved with a certain quality to the field and administrative officers.
The cabinet after necessary discussion approved recruitment rules of Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), Sindh.
The cabinet appointed Advocate Manzoor Hussian Larik as secretary Board of Governors of Law colleges affiliated with Shah Abdul Latif University Khairpur.