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Rs25 billion deficit budget for Sindh

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Posted by on Saturday, June 12, 2010, 9:00
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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah announced on Friday a Rs442 billion budget for 2010-11 that carries an operational revenue deficit of Rs25 billion, but promises record development in the province and some relief to the salaried people.

The budget envisaged revenue expenditure of Rs397 billion and a development outlay of Rs135 billion, including Rs115 billion for ADP, Rs14.4 billion for the federal development programme, foreign assistance to the tune of Rs4.2 billion and Rs1.5 billion for relief assistance in emergency conditions caused by drought.

Presenting the budget in the Sindh Assembly, Mr Shah said the provincial government employees would be given an ad hoc 50 per cent increase in basic pay. He announced a 100 per cent increase in medical allowance for employees in Grade 1 to 15 and said that for employees in BS-16 to BS-22 this allowance would be 15 per cent of their initial basic pay. He said teachers would get time scale along with the qualification allowance, adding that fulfilling this long-standing demand would cost the government Rs1.8 billion.

The chief minister said that exemption limit of annual value for assessment of property tax in respect of properties owned by widows, minor orphans and permanently disabled persons had been raised from Rs24,000 to Rs48,000.

He assured the house that additional resources would be mobilised to improve revenue collection and bridge the budgetary gap of Rs25 billion.

He said the Sindh government would approach the federal government to seek repayment of the “overpaid” amount to the tune of Rs22 billion. He did not provide details of overpayment, but there is a dispute going on between the two governments over the share of General Sales Tax, which is collected by the centre on services.

This indicates that the provincial government plans to finance the major chunk of the six per cent deficit by seeking its Rs22 billion from the federal government.

Mr Shah said that in order to meet the deficit, his government would contain current expenditure by placing a ban on wasteful spending, especially on account of vehicles, and discouraging unnecessary foreign visits.

The provincial ADP was being increased by 53 per cent to Rs115 billion from the current year’s allocation of Rs75 billion.Rs25 billion deficit budget for Sindh

Elaborating on fiscal measures aimed at enhancing revenue receipts, Mr Shah said that under the 18th Constitution Amendment, the collection and levy of Capital Value Tax (CVT) on immovable property was the province’s domain.

He disclosed that the federal government was collecting CVT at a rate of four per cent, but his government had proposed to bring it down to two per cent on residential premises and to 2.5 per cent on commercial premises.

The provincial government, he said, had proposed to reduce the rates of stamp duty on conveyance deed to two per cent from the three per cent with a view to facilitating greater documentation.

However, the chief minister declared that the valuation table of immovable property would be indexed to three per cent inflation and said that through this move the government would make up for the revenue loss to be suffered through reduction in rates of stamp duty.

He said that stamp duty was being cut to one per cent from the existing three per cent in favour of Real Estate Investment Trusts and for the end users so as to facilitate resource mobilisation and investment.

A reduction in registration charges was also being proposed from 1 per cent to 0.5 per cent, he added.

Stamp duty is being proposed to be reduced on financial instruments like Participation Term Certificate, Term Finance Certificate and Commercial Papers so as to harmonise the rates with those charged in Islamabad and Punjab. This will help in documentation of financial instruments in the province which will produce a positive effect in economic activities, he said.

The chief minister said that in line with the federal government’s announcement, the Sindh government had proposed to increase the pay of its employees, adding that this would cost the government Rs31 billion.

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