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Sindh facing phenomenal fiscal shortfall of Rs59b in funds from Centre: CM

Sindh facing phenomenal fiscal shortfall of Rs59b in funds from Centre: CM

Karachi: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has said that his government is facing a phenomenal fiscal shortfall of Rs59 billion in the funds the province was expecting to receive from the federal administration during the first quarter of 2018-19, forcing Sindh to curtail the Annual Development Programme by Rs24 billion.

The total outlay of Sindh’s budget for this financial year is Rs1.144 trillion, out of which the provincial government was authorised to spend Rs292.613 billion in the first quarter.

Passing the budget for the remaining nine months, the House through majority votes passed 153 demands for grants presented by the treasury and rejected 113 cut motions presented by the opposition.

Shah said the last financial year ended with the Sindh government receiving Rs50 billion less under its due share of fiscal resources from the Centre, adding that it has become quite difficult to meet recurring expenditures of his administration and make funds available for new development works.

He said his government has allocated up to 90 per cent of development funds for ongoing projects, adding that they would complete 956 schemes this financial year. He also said Rs202 billion has been reserved for ongoing projects.

The chief executive said the Centre needs to improve the working of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), accusing the taxman of stealing money from the financial resources of the provinces to meet its own targets.

He said that in 2016 the FBR took out Rs6.7 billion from the account of the Sindh government claiming that 1.4 million motor vehicles had been registered by the excise department.

The matter was taken up with the State Bank of Pakistan, which stopped the FBR’s at-source deduction, but they seem unwilling to reconcile the account, he added.