KARACHI – Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Syed Murad Ali Shah said on Tuesday that the province which contributes 70 percent of Pakistan’s revenue is rewarded by being pittance when compared to the schemes offered to other provinces.
This he said while addressing a press conference at CM House. He was accompanied by his Senior Advisor Nisar Khuhro and Information Minister Nasir Shah. He said that the National Economic Council (NEC) was a 13-member constitutional body that had eight from the provinces and five from the federal government, including Chairman–the Prime Minister.
The CM talking about the functions of the NEC said, “It includes to review the overall economic condition of the country and advise the federal and the provincial governments to formulate plans in respect of financial, commercial, social and economic policies–the NEC has to ensure balanced development and regional equity. “Ever since, the PTI government has come into power (in the center), it has been treating Sindh with abject bias and discrimination,” Shah said and added that in 2017-18, there were 27 schemes in the PSDP with an allocation of Rs27.38 billion.
In 2018-19, the number of schemes was reduced to 22 with an allocation of Rs14.26 billion. In 2019-20 again the schemes were reduced to 13 along with an allocation of Rs8.5 billion. In 2020-21 the number of schemes dropped down to six (schemes) with an allocation of Rs8.3 billion. In 2021-22 only six schemes were proposed with an allocation of Rs5 billion. “A grave injustice is being meted out to the people of Sindh ever since the PTI (federal) government has come into power in August 2018.
National Highway Authority
Talking about National Highway Authority (NHA) schemes, the chief minister pointed out a glaring injustice with people of Sindh. He said that it has launched 22 schemes for Punjab with an estimated cost of Rs824.55 billion against which an allocation of Rs32.151 billion had been proposed for 2021-22, whereas, he said, the NHA had only two schemes of Rs46.79 billion for Sindh against which Rs7.1 billion had been proposed for 2021-22.
The Finance Division executes its schemes through respective provincial governments, he said and added that for the next financial years, 2021-22 the Finance Division has given 14 schemes of RS86.6 billion to Punjab against which Rs15.06 allocation has been proposed for 2021-22. The Sindh government has been given only two schemes of Rs4.8 billion with a proposed allocation of Rs1.5 billion for 2021-22.
The Housing and Works Division during 2020-21 launched 14 schemes of Rs29.29 billion with an allocation of Rs3.7 billion in Punjab, and 18 schemes of Rs11.46 billion with an allocation of Rs8 billion in Sindh. The Housing & Works Division is responsible for construction of federal government buildings in the federal capital and in the provinces through the Pak PWD, said Shah and added: “The Housing Division portfolio showed that it was constructing bridges on rivers and roads in Punjab and Balochistan.”
In Sindh the schemes assigned to them were those which were previously reflected in the PSDP 2020-21, he said and added that in previous NEC meetings he had raised objections to these Union Council based schemes launched in Sindh under federal PSDP. He said that the federal government had committed to complete these schemes within a year and had an allocation of Rs9.9 billion in 2020-21.
As a matter of fact, only Rs500 million were released. He added that the federal government was supposed to consult with the provincial government before launching such schemes but neither he was consulted, nor the schemes were being executed through the provincial government. Therefore, the quality of the schemes has been reported to be sub-standard.
The chief minister said that the Planning & Development Division in the proposed PSDP 2021-22 had eight schemes of Rs44.5 billion with an allocation of Rs10.29 billion for Sindh. It has not given any scheme to other provinces. He said that the Planning Division had no system or staff to execute projects.
In Sindh, they have been given a large allocation to execute projects through Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited, he said and added last year these projects were shown under the Cabinet Division. He said that he had objected to the ‘East India Company’ intervention in Sindh last year. He recalled that the unplanned execution of the Green Line Project played havoc during the heavy rains last year.