Pakistan

PM Shahbaz Sharif addresses financial and developmental issues of Sindh

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, in a meeting with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and his team, discussed unresolved financial and developmental matters between the federal and provincial governments. The session, held at the CM House, aimed to expedite the resolution of lingering issues hindering progress on crucial projects.

During the meeting, the PM emphasized the urgency of resolving all pending matters to facilitate the swift execution of developmental projects and address financial discrepancies. To this end, he instructed Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, Finance Minister Mohammad Aurangzeb, and the Secretary of Communication to engage in discussions with the Shah’s team to prioritize and resolve all outstanding issues promptly.

Highlighting the significance of the gathering, the PM reaffirmed his commitment to addressing the challenges hindering development initiatives, emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts between the federal and provincial authorities.

Financial shortfalls and Arrears

Shah provided a detailed overview of financial discrepancies, citing instances of arrears and shortfalls in federal transfers. He noted that during the fiscal year 2022-23, Sindh’s share in the budget estimates amounted to Rs1,078.187 billion, with actual receipts totaling Rs1,050.167 billion, reflecting a shortfall of Rs28.030 billion. Despite partial disbursements in July 2023 and April 2024, an outstanding amount of Rs19.846 billion remains due from the federal government.

In the ongoing fiscal year 2023-24 (July 2023 to April 2024), the Sindh government’s allocated share stands at Rs1,092.416 billion, with actual receipts amounting to Rs1,009.559 billion, indicating a shortfall of Rs82.857 billion. Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif directed Finance Minister Aurangzeb to engage with the Sindh government to address these financial discrepancies promptly.

Taxation and financial litigation

The meeting also addressed taxation issues, with Chief Minister Shah highlighting prolonged litigation concerning tax refunds. He called for the prompt resolution of these matters and urged the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to expedite the refund process.

Federal government commitments

Shah further outlined commitments from the federal government for various projects, including housing for flood-affected populations and the reconstruction of schools in flood-hit areas. Despite assurances, delays in disbursements have impeded progress, with outstanding amounts yet to be released.

Several infrastructure projects, including the lining of the KB Feeder and the Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway (M-6), were discussed during the meeting. Chief Minister Shah highlighted the urgent need for funding and project initiation, underscoring their significance for regional development.

Transportation initiatives also featured prominently in the discussions, with Minister Transport Sharjeel Memon requesting additional buses for Karachi’s transport fleet. The PM responded by announcing the provision of 150 buses to bolster the Sindh transport department’s capabilities.

The PM commended Shah for spearheading successful Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects, lauding the Sindh government’s efforts in advancing infrastructure development through innovative partnerships.

Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif reiterated his commitment to resolving outstanding issues and expediting developmental projects in Sindh. He directed relevant ministries and authorities to take immediate action to address the concerns raised during the meeting, emphasizing the importance of cooperation and collaboration between the federal and provincial governments.

The meeting concluded with a resolve to work together towards achieving shared developmental goals and overcoming challenges hindering progress in Sindh.

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