The government of Sindh has decided to bump up the salaries of civil servants, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said Wednesday as he presented the provincial budget for fiscal year 2020-21 in the assembly.
In his budget speech, CM Shah announced that the salaries of Grade 1-16 government employees would be increased 10%, while those of Grade 17-21 would receive a 5% raise. The upward revision, however, would not be applicable to provincial ministers and Sindh cabinet, he added.
Earlier, the budget session began under Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani, where the chief minister — who also holds the portfolio for provincial finance minister — put forth the outlay for the current year.
Shah said he was honoured to present the budget for the eighth time. "The budget this year is being presented under difficult circumstances,” he said, adding that Pakistan is battling the pandemic and locust attacks at the same time.
He said the government of Sindh had formed a Rs3-billion Corona Emergency Fund and the province took the initiative for the lockdown before other provinces followed suit.
CM Shah said Rs1.3 billion of the Rs3 billion was paid by the Sindh government while a sum of Rs1.7 billion was given by the provincial employees.
“In 2020-21, the estimate of expenditure on Health Risk Allowance is Rs1.0 billion,” he said, adding that the testing capacity for the virus has been raised to 11,450 daily.
In all the districts, there were 81 quarantine centres with 8,266 beds and, in June 2020, the number was increased to 8,616, he told the assembly. He said 101 additional ventilators were bought and a local hospital at Karachi’s Nipa Chowrangi was given a grant of Rs2 billion.
“A committee was formed to give timely and adequate facilities,” said Shah, elaborating that the committee bought machinery and tools worth Rs2.43 billion to deal with the pandemic.
The chief minister further added that for the education sector, Rs21.1 billion have been allocated for 11 new, unapproved projects. For the 265 pre-existing schemes and four new ones, Rs 13.2 billion were set aside, he added.
Among other recommendations as per the budget documents, a sum of Rs5 billion was allocated to deal with the pandemic measures. The documents showed that there was no new agricultural research scheme in the provincial budget.
The recommendations also included the allocation of Rs7.2 billion and Rs1.86 billion for Malir Expressway and Karachi-Thatta double-track road, respectively.
Earlier today, CM Shah had presided over a cabinet session at the CM House to review budget recommendations.
In the meeting, the Sindh cabinet had given its approval to raise the salaries of government employees by 10%, according to the provincial government spokesperson.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Assembly rules were slightly altered so that the members could attend the session virtually from their homes.
Sources had earlier said only 25% of the lawmakers would attend the session in person.
Special measures were taken ahead of the session to ensure the safety of the lawmakers as those MPAs would be allowed inside who have tested negative for the virus.