Karachi - The Sindh Assembly on Tuesday passed the provincial budget for the year 2018-19 with an authentication of Rs 271.633 billion for the first three months.

The chief minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah had earlier presented a budget of Rs 1.14 trillion in the provincial assembly on May 10 but announced that after consultations with the party they had decided to give authentication for the expenditure of only first three months.

On Tuesday, the assembly passed 153 demands for the grants of budget for the year 2018-19 for three months amounting to over Rs 271.633 billion. The opposition parties submitted more than 450 cut motion on the demands for the grants of the financial year 2018-19, however, none was approved by the house.

Soon after reaching the cut motions for grant 4, the chief minister who also had the portfolio of the finance minister, asked the chair to club all the cut motions and demands for the grants for budget 2018-19 so that the time could be saved.

Opposition Leader Khwaja Izharul Hassan tried to oppose the move but lacked support from the other parties as most of the PML-N, PTI and PML-F lawmakers remained absent from the house while MQM-P lawmakers who joined PSP refused to support him.

The deputy speaker who was then chairing the meeting clubbed the motions which were rejected and the house adopted all the 153 grants for the first three months of the fiscal year 2018-19 from 1st July to 30th September.  

The house also adopted the supplementary budget of Rs 109.6 billion for the year 2017-18 and only the two lawmakers from opposition side including Rana Ansar from MQM-P and Sumeta Afzal from PSP moved cut motions on the supplementary expenditure grants.

However, none of their motions were approved but the chief minister appreciated them for bringing the cut motions and said that it seems that only two of them had read the budget.    

Earlier giving his concluding speech on the budget, the chief minister responded to the criticism from the opposition lawmakers during their speeches in the house on budget debate during past six days including opposition leader Khwaja Izharul Hassan.

He said that the provincial government has imposed indirect taxes but it is not unusual as it is done globally to earn revenue.

“We have imposed indirect taxes on sales tax, provincial excise duty, stamps duty, motor vehicle tax, entertainment tax, Sindh development on infrastructure tax and cotton fees. “We are facing losses in our direct taxes collection due to a ban from the apex court on transfer of land in the Sindh province,” he said. 

The chief minister lambasted the MQM over demanding a new province and said that he curses on those who demand this and the province was and will remain united.

“The city was in the grip of fear five years ago but PPP eliminated this fear,” he said adding that they had carried out the development project without discrimination of urban and rural areas.

He said that budget in every province is either passed in haste or was in uncertain condition but in Sindh province they had given complete opportunity to everyone to debate on it.

Giving the highlights of the projects executed during the last five years by the provincial government, the chief minister informed that over 29 road projects were executed by the provincial government during the last year including Karachi-Thatta Dual Carriage Way, largest bridge on river in Pakistan named Jhirk Mulakata bridge, Jhimpir-Jhrik road, Thatta Sajawal bridge and others.

The chief minister informed that on the irrigation side they had focused on the lining of canals and most important of the project was lining of Jamrao Canal and other canals in Umerkot, Kashmore, Thar and others areas.

He said that the provincial government had established small dams in different parts of the province while flood protection dams were also established.

Responding on electricity production, the chief minister said that the provincial government is currently providing 958 megawatt electricity to the national grid through Jhimpir wind corridor project and is the only province that has its own electricity transmission and distribution lines company.

“We are providing 100 megawatt electricity to K-Electric through a plant built by the provincial government that has somehow eased the electricity load in Karachi,” he said.

Speaking on health projects during last year, the chief minister said that NICVD was their major achievements whose Karachi centre is one of the biggest worldwide facilities for most angioplasties under one roof. “We have established six other facilities in different districts of the province in which the Sukkur facility also have the facility of heart transplant,” he said.

“Our other achievement included establishing emergency centres for children and in Karachi they have established such centres in the city that every child is just 30 minutes away from emergency services in the city from the doorstep,” he said.

The chief minister further said that he not only openly goes out and mingle with masses in Karachi but while showing his pictures said that he had done the same thing in Hyderabad, Sukkur, Larkana, Tharparkar and Badin. He further gave details of the projects either completed or near completion from his government under Karachi mega projects head and said that their projects had changed the landscape of the city.

“It was in 1970 when the Shahra-e-Faisal was built in PPP era and now after a gap of over 40 years, once again PPP has expanded it,” he said.

The chief minister blamed the federal government for delay in KCR project and said that with elections nearing now the Chinese companies have just refrained from indulging in new projects and are waiting for the results of the election 2018.