KARACHI (Staff Reporter): Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the federal government, considering the province of Sindh as a colony of Islamabad, has decided to carry out it development works through a company, Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Limited (SIDCL), which was unacceptable.
This he said on Wednesday while addressing a press conference here at Auditorium of Sindh Assembly. He was accompanied by Senior Advisor Nisar Khuhro, Information Minister Syed Nasir Shah, Advisor Murtaza Wahab and Special Assistant to CM Javed Nayab Leghari.
He said that the province of Sindh has not been given any new scheme in the next proposed, 2020-21 PSDP, except two energy schemes, including power and gas connections for Dhabeji Special Economic Zone.
He said that the prime minister held National Economic Council (NEC) meeting through video link. “NEC is a constitutional body formed under Article 156 of the constitution and it has to meet twice in a yea but the prime minister during his two years tenure has held only two meetings,” he said and disclosed that the prime minister assured him that he would convene NEC meeting very soon and onward these meetings would be held as envisaged in the constitution.
Mr Shah said that the NEC meeting was scheduled to be held in Islamabad but at the eleventh hour he was told that the chief ministers and other members from the province would join the meeting from their offices through video link. “I was surprised that the prime minister chaired a seven-hour long cabinet meeting which was not a constitutional body – it has been defined in rules of business where as the NEC was a constitutional body and it should have been held on a single table to discuss the economic growth, PSDP and other issues falling under its domain.
He said that NEC was a 13-member body and it could have been held under the prime minister in Islamabad. “I took up the matter before prime minister and he disclosed that the direction to the chief minister were not given by him,” he disclosed.
Mr Shah said that the NEC meeting had six agenda items but he would discuss only two items, they include Annual Plan, 2019-20 and 2020-21 and indicators of economic growth such how agriculture and industrial sectors would grow in the next financial year so that necessary planning could be made accordingly.
He said that the in 2019-20 growth target was estimated at 4 Percent but later on it turned out to be minus 0.4 percent. He added that in 2081-19 the growth target was 6.2 percent which also turned out to growth 1.9. “This is a huge difference and I had pointed it out in the NEC meeting,” he said .
Quoting the World Ban, Mr Shah said that Pakistan growth in 2020 would be minus -2.6 percent and in 2021 it would be minus -0.2 percent. He added that the federal government had showsn a growth of 3.3 percent last year but actually it was 1.9 percent, therefore. “I am of the view that at least the provincial governments should be told accurate figures so that make their planning of investments in development and other sectors accordingly,” he said.
In 2020-21, the federal government says the growth would be 2.1 percent but the world bank study said it would be minus -0.2 percent. “If you give wrong numbers our estimates would go wrong,” he said.
He said that the federal government told the meeting that their overall tax collection was 31 percent higher than the last year because non-tax revenues were high. “This is right because they [Fed govt] have issued some licenses from where their collection has shows a growth but during the last 11 months the FBR has collected Rs3.5 trillion against a target of Rs5.5 trillion,” he disclosed. He added that the province of Sindh was told that it would receive Rs835 billion against which the Sindh was receiving Rs 606 billion. “This shows a shortfall of Rs229 billion and it has badly affected our over development portfolio,” he lamented.
The chief minister said that in 2018-19, for the first time, the tax collection had fallen short than the previous year, 2018-19, and now again 2019-20 witness shortfall in collection than its previous year.”This would be histry in which collection would be less than the last years,” he said.
PSDP: Mr Shah said that he had chaired a meeting on PSDP on Tuesday and found discrepancies in the [PSDP] document. He added that on Wednesday morning he received a revised PSDP document and in which what he was a separate company was formed to carry out development schemes of the federal government in Sindh.
He said that every province has been given funds to carry out uplift works but a separate company, SIDCL has been formed for Sindh. “This is quite surprising and new thing for me,” he said and added for the first time he has seen around 22 schemes, including 20 of Sindh province have been assigned to the Cabinet division to implement. “The cabinet Division of the federal government is not a development schemes executing agency,” he said.
He said that he raised this objection in the NEC meeting and told the prime minister that in 2015 the PM Nawaz had given Green Line project to Karachi and had said they [fed govt] would construct on their own. He went on saying that the federal government formed Karachi Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (KIDCL) and started Green Line bus transit system scheme of Rs24.6 billion. In June 2019, a year before, Rs21.2 billion were shown utilized on the schemes. “When, I saw the documents, Rs19.5 billion were shown utilized on the schemes on 30 June 2020 while Rs21.2 billion they had shown utilized in June 2019,” he said and added how they were playing with the jugglery with figures of the projects of Sindh.
Talking about a scheme the federal government had included in the PSDP under the name of Improvement and Rehabilitation of streets, water and sewerage system under KMC, Mr Shah said that how a vague type of scheme could be taken up for which they had no knowledge of the works to be carried. He added that surprisingly, the DDWP had approved it on March 13, 2020 at a cost of Rs1.1 billion and then Rs1.1 billion they shown utilized.
“I brought the scheme in the knowledge of the federal government and they advised him to go to NAB,” he said and added had it been done by the provincial government NAB would have came much earlier..
Referring another Schemes of RS2.44 billion named as Reconstruction of Manghopir Road. The work had been assigned to SIDCL, he said and added it was approved by the PML-N govt. for Rs2.44 billion and so far Rs1.2 have been utilized and he was expecting that prime minister would inaugurate the schemes but at the ground every one knows what has happened, he said. He also quoted a scheme: Reconstruction of Nishtar Road of Rs1.9 billion approved in 2018. He added that it was an old schemes and so far they have utilized Rs781 million.
Talking about Fire Fighting System scheme of Rs1.876 billion, the chief minister said that Rs1.21 billion have been utilized but so far the KMC has not received even a tyre of a fire tender. He said the scheme, Construction of Roan on Malir Band was approved for Rs44 million scheme and this has been included is the new PSDP but it is also an old schemes and nothing has been utilized on it.
Talking about M-9 scheme, construction of inter-change for Rs14.5 Rs1.8 billion, he said the federal government has allocated only Rs500 million. “When it would be completed can be guessed from the allocation,” he said.
He said that in the PSDP schemes in the name of `Development in Hyderabad and Mirpur division’ have been included but nobody know which schemes were they. “As a provincial government we must know which schemes they are taking up so that the provincial government may not launch in duplication,” he said.
He also disclosed that in the PSDP Development schemes under PM programme in Larkana and Shaheed Benazirabad worth Rs1.8 billion have been included. “The Prime Minister should give us mega projects such as lining canals, dam projects water schemes in Thar but he chose to construct surface drains in the streets,” he surprised.
He also disclosed another schemes, Improvement of different roads, streets, including water and sewerage schems in a constituency of East Karachi of Rs217 million included in PSDP. “This might be in a MPA constituency but the supreme court has given a judgement that no MPA could be given direct scheme then how they have allocated Rs217 million for an MPA in District East.
The chief minister added that in Distt Central Karachi a Rs120 million has ben included in the PSDP. “This is not the job of Prime Minister to give small schemes of local bodies level to his MPAs and execute them through SIDCL. “We had sent them seven water sector schemes but they didn’t consider them,” he said and added they were lining of KB Feeder, Kotri Barrage to Kinjhar. 2018-19 it was in PSDP and this year they dropped it [from PSDP].
He said that another scheme of providing fresh water in Manchar whichthey had appreciated it in 2019-20 but now they dropped it. He added that Lyari Expressway was a Rs2 billion throw-forward under which displaced people had to be re-located but this schemes has also been dropped.
He also complained that during the NEC meeting his mic was muted and then he took up the matter on which the prime minister denied of issuing such orders and said he would given opportunity to each and every chief minister to express their views. “This is what the staff of the prime minister secretrait were doing with him,” he said.
Mr Shah said that out 24 new schemes included in the next PSDP, not a schemes belonged to Sindh. The schemes in the PSDP include Construction of road from Sui to Kashmore. This road actually belonged to Balochistand according the chief minister Balochsitan need more more schemes but at least Sindh must be given similar schemes.
He said that Hyderabad – Sukkur road was not being constructed and the federal government has kept Rs100 million against a total cost Rs175 billion of the project. Now, the federal government was planning to include it in BOT projects. He landed that the federal government has not given Sindh any new schemes. “yes, In power sector they have given only one schemes for Dhabeji Special Economic Zone.
Replying to a question, the chief minister said that in Health secto, r the Sindh government performance was comparatively better than the other provinces.
Talking about ration he said when private sector started distributing [ration] people had started thronged there. “Had we distributed ration by allowing in crowds people would have infected with coronavirus,” he said and added the Sindh government has distributed ration of Rs1.8 billion through a transparent way and “we were ready to give its detailed account,” he said.
Talking about K-IV, the chief minister said that it was a Rs25 billion project and then revised to and Rs33 billion. “Recently, a Debt Reconciliation Commission was constituted and the head of the commission called the officers of Sindh government working on K-IV and insulted them as if the K-IV project was being made on loan. “It is a government project and is being financed equally by federal and provincial governments,” he said.
On the occasion, Senior Advisor to the CM Nisar Khuhro also brifed the media about the injustice with Sindh as far as the federal PSDP was concerned.
The chief minister concluding his press conference said that the federal government was taking up 20 schemes through SIDCL in the name of PM. “We have serious objections on SIDCL and why wuch companies have not been formed in other provinces where the federal government was investing massively,” he question.
He said Sindh was not a colony of Islamabad where development was being done through a federally controlled company.