KARACHI: The Sindh Government announced a Rs 391.9 billion revenue-oriented budget here Friday for next fiscal, 2011-12, with revenue expenditures totalled to be around 283.14 billion.The budget was announced by Provincial Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in the Sindh Assembly.“Current budget estimates had been around Rs 340 billion in the previous fiscal,” he informed the House.The House was further informed that the current capital expenditure has been raised from Rs 44.96 billion to Rs 102 billion for next fiscal.
In his key note address to the Sindh Assembly members, he said that the provincial government curtailed its expenditure by a revised amount of Rs 77 billion from Rs 115 billion.
He said that the super floods caused immense and uncountable damage to life and property of the people not only in Sindh but the province of Punjab was also affected immensely.
“Our government can justifiably take credit for bringing Thar coal development to life after years of dormancy. Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto first envisioned the potential of coal and encouraged foreign investment but the successive governments put the project on the back burner,” he said.
However, the present government succeeded in regenerating foreign interest in vital Thar coal project.
“Two Chinese companies have been selected to undertake coal exploration, power generation and establishing petro chemical complex at two blocks in Thar, which were recently put for International Competitive Bidding. This development has brightened the prospect for bringing in much needed international investment for development,” he added.
“We have also made serious efforts to provide critical infrastructure for development of Thar coal. Scheme for bringing water to Thar from Makhi Farash has been approved by ECNEC, feasibility studies for effluent disposal and laying of broad-gauge railway line are to be completed by end of June,” he said.
The Finance Minister said that serious efforts are also in place to exploit the Gharo-Keti Bandar wind corridor.
“During Chief Minister’s recent visit to Korea an MOU to generate 2000 MW of wind energy was signed with Korea Southern Power Company,” he informed the House.
He said that the issue of electric power was of great priority for the government.
“Following the 18th amendment in light of the Government’s commitment to empower the federating units, the CCl has given principle approval to the removal of a limit on the ceiling of 50 MW which was earlier set at which provinces could construct power plants,” he said while delivering his speech in the House.
The Sindh Government has signed a letter of intent with the Three Gorges Project Corporation, China’s premier electricity producer, to help explore the hydel potential in Sindh, Murad Shah said.
About the oil and gas sector, he said that under the 18th amendment, the Sindh Government has actively initiated the process of creating its own structure for oil and gas and this exercise is currently being carried out within the Electric Power Department.
“As a federating unit, Sindh is the greatest contributor of gas, as we produce 70% of the gas that is consumed all over Pakistan. Last year the province was successful in achieving a production bonus from the Federal Government, and the practice has continued in the current year,” he added.