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Sindh unveils Rs 686bn budget for 2014-15

g Outlay 11% higher than that of the outgoing financial year * Expenditure estimated at Rs 436 billion, 22% higher than last year’s* 10% increase in salary, pension proposed

KARACHI: The Pakistan People’s Party-led Sindh coalition government on Friday presented a Rs 686.179 billion budget for the fiscal year 2014-15, which is 11% higher than the budget of the outgoing financial year. 
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah presented the budget speech in the Sindh Assembly. The House commenced the proceedings with Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in the chair. The budget estimate for Divisional Pool Taxes as communicated by the federal government is Rs 381.4 billion. Receipts under straight transfers are estimated at Rs 82.6 billion, and the receipts under grant to offset losses from abolition of OZT are estimated at Rs 10.3 billion. The provincial receipts are estimated at Rs 125.1 billion. This includes Rs 107.1 billion in tax and Rs 18 billion in non-tax receipts. 
The target for non-tax receipts has been reduced in view of the ongoing ban on disposal of state land. Presenting the budget statement for the year 2014-15 and supplementary budget statement for the year 2013-14 Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah said that the revenue expenditure for financial year 2014-15 is estimated at Rs 436.090 billion, which is 22% higher than the budget estimates of Rs 355.9 billion for FY 2013-14. In addition to the increase in the wage bill of the government, the major reason for enhancement in the current revenue expenditure is significant increases in non-salary budgets of education and health sectors, a huge allocation for payment of electricity dues and inclusion of grants and subsidies for public utilities and universities; all of which is aimed at improving service delivery for the residents of the province.
As far as capital expenditure is concerned, an estimate of Rs 34.7 billion has been projected as compared to the outgoing years’ estimates of Rs 31.3 billion. The Annual Development Plan (ADP) for the financial year 2014-15 is estimated at Rs 168 billion. This is Rs 17 billion less than the outgoing years’ estimates of Rs 185 billion, but 46% higher than the outgoing years’ revised estimate of Rs 115 billion. The ADP is being made realistic in order to ensure that all the priority projects of the government are adequately funded and the releases for development projects are more predictable; thereby facilitating the project managers in better planning and management.
The provincial government has announced a 10% increase in salaries of all the government servants. Accordingly, a 10% ad hoc relief will be allowed to all provincial government employees with effect from July 1. A 10% increase will be given to the employees in Grade-1 to 15 who are drawing fixed medical allowance of Rs 1,000 per month. A 5% increase will be allowed in conveyance allowance to employees from Grade-1 to 15. 
The government has announced upgrade of the post of superintendent from Grade-16 to Grade-17. One pre-mature increment will be allowed to employees of Grade-1 to 4. For welfare of the labour class, and in line with the increase in pay of government employees, the minimum wage rate is also being increased to Rs 11,000. The Sindh government has increased the minimum pension by Rs 1,000 to make it Rs 6,000 per month. A 10% increase will also be allowed in pension of all retired employees of the government of Sindh. In the budget speech the government proposed reduction in the standard rate of Sindh sales tax on services from 16% to 15% from July 1.

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