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Sindh to keep GST rate at 16 percent; 15 percent raise in salaries

18 June, 2013

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KARACHI: The Sindh government on Monday presented its budget for the fiscal year 2013-14 with an outlay of Rs 617 billion and Rs 21 billion deficit, with the general sales tax kept at 16%.

The shortfall will be recovered by imposing fresh taxes on different services and increasing percentage of infrastructure-cess and property tax in the province. Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who also holds finance portfolio, presented the budget during Sindh Assembly budget session. Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani presided over the session. Most of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) members remained absent, while members of other opposition parties listened to the budget speech without any uproar.

Total development outlay of the budget is Rs 229 billion, including Rs 185 billion provincial Annual Development Programme. For the previous financial year the government had allocated Rs 181 billion for the ADP, however, it was reduced to Rs 97.5 billion in revised estimates. The CM announced 15 percent increase in salaries of Sindh government employees of grade 1-15 and a ten percent increase in employees of grade 16 and above. He also announced 10 percent increase in pensions and minimum pension was raised from Rs 3,000 to Rs 6,000.

The government has earmarked Rs 132.22 billion for education; Rs 32 billion for development and Rs 11 billion for power distribution companies. Shah told the House that Rs 89 million have been earmarked to improve the performance of police and Rs 48 billion for improving law and order situation. Vowing to create 150,000 jobs in the province during the next five years, he announced 20,000 recruitments in Sindh Police. Furthermore, 300,000 youth will get vocational training with the help of World Bank, he added.

He announced that the Sindh government will start Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) on its own with an initial allocation of Rs 2 billion. He said that estimated revenue receipts from Federal Divisible Pool for Financial Year 2013-14 are Rs 332.9 billion, which is a 5.9 percent increase over Budget Estimates of 2012-13. Receipts under Straight Transfers are estimated at Rs 67.1 billion, which is higher than last year's budget estimates of Rs 59.3 billion.

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