CM Murad presents Rs1.714 trillion ‘tax-free’ Sindh budget

| 15pc increase in salaries of govt employees
| Rs26.850b for social safety, economic relief | Post of police constable to be up-graded from BPS-5 to BPS-7

KARACHI    –   Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of Finance, tabled Rs1.714 trillion budget with special focus on social protection and economic sustainability initiatives for the next financial year 2022-23 amid rumpus and brawl between opposition and treasury members. CM Murad presented 10th budget of the provincial government consecutively as he was interrupted by PTI lawmakers who had gathered around him and chanted slogans against his PPP party. In his speech, Syed Murad Ali Shah announced package for the poor of the province. He also announced 15 percent increase in salaries of provincial government employees from 1st July this year by merging all the adhoc relief allowances from 2016 to 2021 in basic pay and introducing new and revised pay scale.

He announced that disparity allowance at the rate of 33 percent of basic pay will be paid to provincial government employees from PBS-1 to BPS- 16 and 30 percent to the employees from PBS-17 and above.

He also announced five percent increase in pensions of retired employees.

Syed Murad Ali Shah announced up gradation of post of police constables from BPS-5 to BPS-7.

He said that an amount 332.165 billion rupees has been earmarked for annual development programme 2022-23 which over one hundred billion rupees more than amount of the outgoing financial year

“For the second consecutive year, we are not proposing any new tax while a special moratorium has been proposed on collection of cotton fee, professional tax and entertainment duty,,” he said. He further proposed exemption on levy of Sindh Infrastructure Development Cess for export oriented units in order to minimize the cost of doing business.

Ruckus in Assembly

The provincial Assembly witnessed uproar during the budget session as the lawmakers belonging to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Peoples Party including the female members indulged into a physical brawl. It all started when the PTI legislators gathered in front of Speaker’s rostrum and began chanting slogans against what they called imported budget.  They chanted “Imported Hukumat Na Manzoor” (Imported Government is not acceptable) and “Imported Budget Na Manzoor” (Imported Budget is not acceptable) slogans.

The PTI members kept shouting the slogans to interrupt Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah. The PTI lawmakers were also warned by Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari for filming in the Assembly. “Use of mobile phones is not allowed in the house. I warn (of taking action) you guys not to use mobile phones” the Deputy Speaker repeatedly told to the protesting members.

 The situation took ugly turn when PPP members including Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, Imdad Pitafi and Mumtaz Jakhrani asked the PTI lawmakers to move away from the Chief Minister’s seat. Mumtaz Jakhrani tore apart the placards of the PTI member and threw at the opposition members.

PPP’s Mumtaz Jakhrani and PTI’s Shahnawaz Jadoon threw budget copies and bags at each other; however, they were separated by other members.

The members of both the parties kept pushing each other even after adjournment of the session, before female members joining their male counterparts. Dua Bhutto of PTI and Kulsoom Chandio of PPP got into a physical brawl as the latter was trying to snatch a mobile phone from Dua for filming the protest.

In the meantime, PPP’s Munawwar Wassan ran away from the house hurriedly. The PTI claimed that Wassan had snatched a mobile phone from Dua Bhutto. In TV footage, Kulsoom Chandio and Munawwar Wassan could be seen snatching mobile phone from the PTI female member before Wassan ran away.

REVISED ESTIMATES 2021-22

The chief minister said that against an estimated budget amount of Rs.1,335.168 billion, the revised receipts of the Province for Current Financial Year 2021-22 stand at Rs.1,273.257 billion. “We have received Rs.781.449 billion against budgeted receipts of Rs. 869.680

billion in the eleven months of current financial year,” he said and added that receipts of Federal PSDP for the current FY 2021-22 stand at Rs.5.40 billion against the revised target of Rs.6.303 billion.

Whereas, he said that revised Foreign Project Assistance stands at Rs.46.097 billion. The provincial tax and non-tax receipts are revised at Rs. 283.745 billion against an estimated target of Rs. 329.320 billion.

On the current revenue expenditure side, the RE 2021-22 stands at Rs.1.037 trillion against budgeted estimate of Rs.1.089 trillion.

Estimates for FY2022-23

The total receipts of province for Financial Year 2022-23 are estimated at Rs.1.680 trillion as against budgeted estimate of Rs.1.452 trillion for CFY, showing overall increase of 15.7%. Receipts from Federal Government on account of revenue assignment, straight transfers and grants are estimated at Rs. 1,055.535 billion for next Financial Year, which constitute 62.8% of total receipts of the province. It is an increase of 21.4% over budget estimates of Rs. 869.680 billion last year. The Receipts of Federal PSDP are estimated at Rs. 6.025 billion for next year. Receipts on account of Foreign Project Assistance 14 (FPA), budgetary support loans and grants are estimated at Rs. 144.543 billion.

Receipts from provincial own sources on account of tax and non-tax receipts are estimated at Rs. 374.5 billion. The total budget outlay for Financial Year 2022-23 is estimated at Rs.1.714 trillion, as against budget estimate of Rs.1.478 trillion for CFY 2021-22, showing overall increase of 15.9%. The current expenditure of the province is projected at Rs.1.254 trillion, which includes current revenue expenditure of Rs. 1.199 trillion and current capital expenditure of Rs.54.5 billion. This is 73.2% of total expenditure of the province and shows an increase of 9.1% in comparison to the current expenditure for last year that was Rs.1.148 trillion.

Salaries and pensions

The Sindh government has proposed adhoc relief allowance at the rate of 15 percent of basic pay scales to the civil servants of the provincial government with effect from July 1.

The Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that Adhoc Relief Allowances 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2021 at the rates admissible to employees of Federal Government are being merged and Revised Basic Pay Scale 2022 for Civil Servants of Government of Sindh is being introduced on the pattern of Federal Government.

Disparity Allowance at the rate of 33% of Basic Pay will be paid to Civil Servants in BPS-1 to 16 and at the rate of 30% to Civil Servants in BPS17 and above in lieu of the differential rate of Ad-hoc Relief Allowances 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 & 2021, which are being abolished w.e.f 1st July, 2022.

Pensioners of Government of Sindh were already getting 22.5% more increase in net pension than pensioners of Federal Government till February 2022. Therefore, an increase at the rate of 5% of net pension will be paid to the pensioners of the Sindh Government w.e.f 1st July, 2022. Thus, after announcement of 10% increase in net pension by Federal Government in March 2022 and enhancement of the rate of increase to 15% from 1st July 2022, the pensioners of Government of Sindh will still be getting 12.5% more of net pension than the pensioners of Federal Government, he added.

Relief in sales tax

The Sindh government also announced multiple measures for relief in sales tax in budget for FY 2022-23 including exemption from SST on toll manufacturing services, five percent reduced SST rate for “Recruiting Agents” will continue for next two years i.e. up to 30th June, 2024 for Pakistanis aspiring to work overseas.

The chief minister announced an extension in relief for two year relief for cable operators who would be charged 10 percent of the sales tax.

Announcing further relief, he said that the cable operators in rural areas under PEMRA License of “R” will be exempted from sales tax for a year while sales tax on food delivery riders will be reduced to 8 percent from 13 percent for two years.

The existing exemption on health insurance services is proposed to continue further for a period of one year till 30th June, 2023.

He further announced that GIZ, a German development agency, facilitating development projects in Sindh, is proposed to be granted conditional exemption on Sales tax on services as indirect relief to the Public.

Annual Development Plan (ADP) 2022-23

The Sindh government has allocated Rs459.658 billion for the Annual Development Programme (ADP) during the next financial year 2022-23. The size of the development budget will be Rs. 459.658 billion as compared to Rs. 329.033 billion in 2021-22, that will include Rs. 332.165 billion for Provincial ADP and Rs.30.00 billion for Districts ADP. Foreign project assistance of Rs.91.468 billion from the development partners and Rs.6.025 billion are expected from the Federal PSDP grant for schemes being executed by the Sindh government.

There are 2,506 ongoing schemes with allocation of Rs. 253.146 billion being 75 percent of total ADP. There are 1,652 new schemes with allocation of Rs.79.02 billion being 25 percent of total ADP.

On-Going schemes where more than 70% expenditure is made, have been fully funded for completion by June, 2023. More than 1,510 schemes have been fully funded and are expected to be completed in the next financial year 2022-23.

According to the budget book, the allocation for Education Sector schemes stands at Rs. 34.22 billion (10.2% of the total size), followed by Rs. 23.33 billion (6.5% of the total size) for health sector schemes. Allocation for Water and Sanitation Sector (PHE & LG) stands at Rs. 59.36 billion (18 % of the total size) while agriculture and livestock sector is given Rs 10.2 billion, Irrigation including lining at Rs. 32.5 billion, and transport and communication sector is Rs. 100.64 billion. An allocation for Karachi based schemes is Rs. 118 billion.

Health

The Chief Minister said that total outlay of the health budget for the fiscal year 2022-23 in the Health Services was earmarked at Rs. 206.98 billion, covering primary, secondary and tertiary healthcare level services, preventive interventions as well as other communicable and non-communicable diseases. “This year health sector budget is 14 per cent

higher in comparison to Rs. 181.22 billion during the fiscal year 2021-22. “It is expected that more than 20 development projects in the health department will be completed by 30th June, 2023.

Education

Murad said that Education sector was being given a total allocation of Rs. 326.86 billion for next financial year. He said that non- development budget had been enhanced from Rs. 268.41 billion during CFY 2021-22  to Rs. 292.639 billion for the next financial year.

“Whereas, Rs.34.22 billion have been earmarked as development budget for School Education department for next financial year 2022-23. This reflects the commitment and seriousness of PPP government towards betterment of the School Education Department,” he added.

TRANSPORT

Murad said that total Rs 4bn had been allocated for procurement of new buses by Sindh Mass Transit Authority. He added that provincial government aimed to develop mass transit system in major cities, especially in Karachi. He said that during the financial year 2021-22, the provincial government had spent Rs. 6.4 billion for procurement of 250 buses by Sindh Mass Transit Authority. “Grant for Sindh Mass Transit Authority has been enhanced by 50 per cent from Rs.200 million to Rs.300 million in order to improve transit system in the province,” he added.

Wheat subsidy

The Sindh government to address the issue of food insecurity and access of common man to food has earmarked Rs 23.324 billion for wheat subsidy in next FY 2022-23. In order to provide relief to the farmers, Sindh is offering highest support price in comparison to rest of the provinces that is Rs. 2,200/40 kg of wheat. Besides, subsidy on seed, fertilizers and pesticides for farmers has been provided to the tune of Rs. 2.552 billion in current financial year 2021-22 and a provision of Rs. 3 billion has been kept for next financial year 2022-23.

Law and order

The total allocation for the Home department, law and order, including Sindh Police and Jails for the next financial year 2022-23 has been enhanced to Rs. 124.873 billion from Rs. 119.98 billion during current financial year.

Maintenance of roads

The Sindh government is not only committed to expanding the road network but it is also injecting more money for repair and maintenance of 38 the existing infrastructure, the chief minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah said. He said that the works and services department is striving to address the issue of continuously increasing pressure on the Road Transportation System; therefore, it requires perpetual expansion, maintenance, replacement and modernization. To achieve these goals, allocation for maintenance of roads has been enhanced from Rs. 4.335 billion during CFY to Rs. 4.715 billion for the next FY 2022-23.

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