Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Murad Ali Shah on Saturday unveiled a Rs2.24-trillion budget for the province for fiscal year 2023-24 aimed at “revitalising prosperity”.
The chief minister announced a salary hike of 35% for the Sindh government employees between grades 1 and 16 and 30% for the employees between grades 17 and 22. The minimum wage is set at Rs 35,500.
Shah said the government has allocated funds for 1937 new projects.
The government has allocated Rs380 billion for the annual development program while the total development budget is estimated at Rs689 billion, Shah said.
A note in the budget documents explained that “in addition to regular ADP, Government of Sindh’s Development portfolio under Public Private Partnership mode stands at Rs. 487 billion whereby Projects of Rs. 60 billion have already been executed, Projects of Rs. 144 billion are presently at different stages of construction and Projects amounting to Rs. 283 billion are at the bidding stage.”
The Sindh government decided to pay special attention to law and order in the budget and proposed to allocate Rs 160 billion for the purpose. Rs 2.79 billion have been allocated for fighting dacoits and Rs 130 million for forensic laboratory.
Rs12 billion has been proposed for mega projects in Karachi, Rs90 billion for the works services department, and Rs160 billion for rain and flood victims.
Rs 353 billion has been allocated for the Education Department. Its development budget is Rs 45.33 billion and Rs 308 billion for the non-development budget of education. About, 1500 lecturers will be appointed through the Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC).
About 23 new colleges will be established in different districts of the province for which Rs 403.3 million has been allocated in the budget, Rs 25 billion grant for public universities, and Rs 3 billion for the construction of flood-damaged schools.
It is proposed to set aside Rs20 billion for the development budget of the health department.
Moreover, the local government budget will amount to Rs112 billion while Rs136 billion are fixed for capital expenditure due to interest payments.
The chief minister opened his speech shortly after 3pm with a couplet from Sindhi poetry. The budget speech was in the English language.
No lawmaker from the opposition PTI was in attendance. Several PTI MNAs have defected following a crackdown against the party over May 9 violence.
The CM took a jibe at the PTI saying some parties had been scattered like “houses of sand.”
Syed Murad Ali Shah, who also holds the portfolio of Provincial Finance Minister, said he was presenting the 5th budget of the province in a row.
A post-budget press conference is also planned for June 11.