KARACHI                    -            Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that out of Rs1.2 trillion allocated in the provincial budget for 2019-20, Rs870.2 billion have been spent on the payment of salaries, employees’ retirement benefits, operation expenses, grants, subsidies, including the payment of Rs75 billion to local bodies.

“Therefore, there remains a little space for development works. Even then the provincial government, with appropriate financial management, carries out uplift works all over the province,” he added.

He was speaking to the 45 trainees of Training Management & Research Wing of Batch 2019 here at the CM House on Thursday. The programme was attended by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Health Zahid Abbasi, Secretary P&D Shireen Narejo and others. The chief minister said that an amount of Rs72 billion was given to local bodies. “Now, we have decided to introduce reforms in local bodies to make them more effective and efficient,” he said.

He said that 23.2 percent of the total budget was allocated for the education sector, 13 percent for health, 12 percent for housing, 2.7 percent to irrigation, 2.9 percent to energy, while the local government department was given 1.2 percent and agriculture 1.2 percent of the total amount.

Murad said that the development outlay was Rs284.04 billion, including Rs208 billion provincial, Rs20 billion district ADP, Rs51.5 billion foreign- funded projects, and Rs4.89 billion federal PSDP. “We have 1,853 ongoing schemes with 78 percent allocation and 852 new schemes with 22 percent allocation,” the CM informed.

To a question, the chief minister said that Sindh was the only province which had built two bridges over River Indus and an airport at Tharparkar. “We have connected the cities, towns and villages of the entire province through small and major roads, and now one could travel easily,” he said.

Replying to a question, the chief minister said that all the Basic Health Units (BHUs) had been given to PPHI, barring those of Karachi and Nawab Shah, and they all were doing very well.

To a question, the CM said that had Benazir Bhutto (BB) been alive today, Pakistan would have been energy exporting country today. “Yes, we have owned the energy projects envisioned by BB, and today Sindh is the only province which generates electricity in the country,” he said, and added its benefits had also been passed on to the people of Thar who had been provided jobs and had become partners in the project.

“Now, we have started developing road infrastructure besides launching water and sanitation projects,” he said.

Talking about poverty alleviation strategy, Murad said it was initiated in 2009 at UC level, and now it had been expanded to 18 districts. “We are also expanding it to another eight districts through European Union-funded `Sindh Council and Community Economic Strengthening and Support (SUCCESS) Programme, being launched with 62 million Euros,” he said, and added, “People of this province, particularly in the rural areas, are leading a difficult life with the lowest purchasing power.”

Brushing aside an impression of ignoring Karachi, the chief minister said that 40 projects had been completed in the city at a cost of Rs27.8 billion while work on more projects was in progress.

He urged the new officers to make up their mind to serve the people this province honestly and to the best of their abilities.

WB delegation meets CM Murad

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and the World Bank (WB) delegation, led by its Country Director Patchmauthu Illangovan, in their meeting here at the CM House on Thursday, reviewed ongoing development portfolio of infrastructure and sustainability, economy, public sector management reform, human development and four projects of the port city worth $2 billion and also discussed the portfolio of $1.11 billion in the pipeline.

The meeting was attended by P&D Chairman Mohammad Waseem, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Local Government Roshan Shaikh, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Energy Musadiq Khan, Secretary Forest Raheem Soomro, Secretary Investment Najam Shah, Secretary Health Zahid Abbasi, Secretary Excise Haleem Shaikh, Secretary Irrigation Saeed Mangnijo, Secretary Transport Abbas Detho and Water MD Asadullah Khan.

KWSB:

The meeting also discussed Karachi Water and Sewerage Services improvement project of worth $1.6 billion, Phase-I of which is of $600 million. The phase has three components.

The phase-I includes technical assistance, training, strategy development, including HR, finance, assets management, social sector management and sewage management.

Under the Component-I, the government has to improve access to safe drinking water in Karachi and to increase KWSB’s financial and operational performance.

Although the chief minister said that the project would be approved by ECNEC very soon, still, he requested the federal government to expedite the process of its approval.

The component-II is based on investment in the rehabilitation of water and sewerage system, including in some katchi abadies and reduction in energy consumption by installing efficient machinery.

The component-III is project management and studies.

The chief minister said that the overhauling of KWSB would be started to make it self-sufficient organization and one of the best institutes of the country in public service and service deliver.

Phase-2 of the project is of $600 million for introduction of reforms, augmentation of S-3 and K-4, bulk water supply and filtration plants.

Phase-3 of $470 million includes water supply to katchi abadies, development of sewerage system and support to the reform plan.

The projects reviewed in the meeting included six of infrastructure and sustainability. The meeting decided to extend the closing dates of the projects beyond March 2020.

Under the Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Project of $187 million, a small component of development of flood shelters would be restructured.

Water Sector Improvement Project $283 million. The Standard Operational Procedure for the project was under preparation.

Under the Barrage Improvement Project of 328 million it was emphasized to gear up rehabilitation works in Sukkur barrage. The overall progress of the project was very slow due to low disbursement. Under the project Sindh Water Policy would framed very soon,

Resilience Project of $100 million: The meeting was told that the PC-I of the projects being modified so that Irrigation department could construct small dams from the saving of the project.

Multi-sectoral Action for Nutrition $5 million, Solar Energy project of $100 million.

In Economy sector Public Sector Management Reform of $50 million under which government servants’ capacity building and training have been undertaken was also reviewed. It was decided that the utilization of funds for the capacity building would be accelerated. Human Development Sector Response to Stunting of $61.62 million was also reviewed under which so far $4.95 million have been released by the donor agencies. Restructuring of the unit was in progress and would be approved by the P&D very soon.

In Karachi $738 million projects were in progress. They are neighbourhood Improvement Project of $86 million was in progress against which 16.96 million have been released which is 20 percent of the total project cost, said that chief minister and urged the bank to release remaining $69.6 million so that the pace of the project could be improved further.

Water & Sewerage Services Improvement Project of $40 million is yet to be started because funds have not been released for the project, said Waseem Chairman P&D.

Mobility project of $382 million is being implemented. The Chairman P&D said that he was making its team by appointing its PD and a designated account was being opened. It is a slow because of the slow releasing. So far $0.96 million have been released, therefore there was progress.

Competitive and Livable City of Karachi Project of $230 million has been brought on track by giving it necessary staff. For competitive Component 10 regulatory authorities have been identified.

New projects:

The chief minister and the world bank team also discussed new projects worth $1.11 billion. They were Early Learning Enhancement through Classroom Transformation of $100 million, Water Resource and Agriculture Transformation $250 million, Resilience Project of $150 million, Karachi water and sewerage project phase-2 of $200 million, Karachi sewerage services project phase-3 of $260 million dollar and Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project (Karachi SWEEP) $200 million.

The meeting decided that the provincial government would submit necessary documents with world bank so that they could be approved to launch in 2021.