Budget 2020-21: Rs1.94bn earmarked for mega projects in Karachi

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KARACHI: The government of Sindh has allocated Rs1.94 billion for 18 ongoing and new mega-development projects of Karachi for the upcoming financial year 2020-21

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah while delivering his budget speech in the provincial assembly on Wednesday said these projects include the Greater Karachi Water Sewerage Project (S-III) and the Greater Karachi Water Supply Project (K-IV). The total expenditure incurred on these projects until May 15 is Rs11.4 billion.

The chief minister added that the main emphasis was given on completing the ongoing projects that had reached an advanced level of implementation. The matter is being pursued with the federal government to release its share for the two main development projects of the city, Shah said.

He said his government worked closely with the local governments to solve the problems of the people of the province on their doorsteps. “In order to strengthen the working of and to cater to the needs of all the local councils from time to time, the provincial government has enhanced the share of the local councils,” Shah said.

The chief minister pointed out that the grant allocated to the local bodies of the province for the year 2019-20 was Rs74.5 billion, while Rs67.5 billion had been released to all local councils by May 30.

Shah said the Sindh government had increased the block allocation for grants to local bodies in the province by 5% from Rs74.5 billion in the current financial year to Rs78 billion in the upcoming fiscal year.

He further said that his government was also sharing the financial burden of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). “The funds are released on a monthly basis on account of regular Octroi Zilla Tax share, regular pension amount and regular grant-in-aid amounting to Rs160 million, Rs430 million and Rs215.4 million respectively”, he added.

The CM added that the total amount of financial assistance to the KMC was Rs.805.5 million with the annual total amount stands at 10 billion and this figure includes Rs293.2 million of a one-time special grant-in-aid.

“The regular grant-in-aid amounting to Rs204 million is being released to the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) on a monthly basis to meet its salary, pension and other non-development expenditures,” he said. “The funds released to the KDA during the current financial year are Rs2.4 billion and Rs470.7 million on account of regular grant-in-aid and a one-time special grant-in-aid respectively, while the provincial government is also paying the monthly electricity charges of the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) since 2016.”

Shah said that Rs39 billion was allocated for 398 water supply and sanitation projects of the public health engineering and local government departments in the Annual Development Programme 2019-20.

The important projects include one for the elimination of sewage discharging in freshwater bodies and the rehabilitation of 494 non-functional water supply and sewerage projects of the Water and Sanitation Agency of Hyderabad, he added.

He pointed out that the above-mentioned projects had incurred cumulated expenditures of Rs11 billion as of June 5, saying that they might increase by the end of the month. Shah added that Rs19.3 billion have been allocated for more than 300 projects of water supply and sanitation of the local government and public health engineering departments.

Moreover, the mega Karachi Water & Sewerage Services Improvement Project for the KWSB has been approved at a total cost of Rs3.4 billion with the financial assistance of the World Bank, he added.

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