Rs 112b Sindh budget announced
By Shahid Husain
KARACHI: Provincial Finance Minister Syed Sardar Ahmad presented Wednesday the Sindh budget for 2004-05 with a total outlay of Rs 125.708 billion, a deficit of Rs 5.349 billion and no new taxes.
The Annual Development Programme has been allocated Rs 18 billion, up 87 percent from Rs 9.633 billion of the current year.
“The budget has a revenue deficit which is estimated to be at Rs 4.2 billion,” he said amidst rumpus created by Opposition members in the Sindh Assembly.
The total outlay shows general revenue expenditure at Rs 104.9 billion while the total development outlay for the year has been set at Rs 20.905 billion including Rs 18 billion ADP, Rs 2.41 billion foreign project assistance and Rs 3.9553 drought emergency relief assistance.
Allocation for law and order: Law and order (police) was allocated a sum of Rs 10.13 billion against Rs 7.97 billion in the current year, an increase of 27 percent over the allocation for the current year.
Allocation for education has been set at Rs 2.6 billion against Rs 2.49 billion of the current year, health got Rs 2.99 billion against Rs 2.6 billion of the current year, irrigation received Rs 4.82 billion against Rs 4.36 billion, agriculture Rs 1.2 billion against Rs 1.078 billion, debt servicing (interest) Rs 11.87 billion against Rs 12.067 billion in the current year and pensions were allocated Rs 7.041 billion against Rs 6.541 billion in the current year.
Relief measures: The finance minister proposed adhoc relief of 15 percent of pay to all employees of the provincial government, an adhoc relief of 16 percent for pensioners, who retired prior to revised pay scale of 1994 and a relief of 8 percent for remaining pensioners. Stamp duty charged at the rate of Rs 1 per leaf on cheques, pay orders and bank drafts has been withdrawn and stamp duty on airline tickets charged at Rs 25 (domestic) and Rs 250 (international) has been withdrawn besides creating 150,000 new jobs. The general revenue expenditure is estimated at Rs 104.9 billion, an increase of 12.7 percent over the revised estimates of 2003-04.