Thursday, June 16, 2011

Associated Press Of Pakistan - NFC award to be announced in 2-3 months: CM

Associated Press Of Pakistan - NFC award to be announced in 2-3 months: CM

NFC award to be announced in 2-3 months: CM

KARACHI, June 16 (APP): Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Tuesday expressed the hope that NFC Award would be announced in 2-3 months, with the consensus of all the four provinces. It is our achievement that every one agreed for the announcement of the Award under a multiple formula and not simply on population basis,the Chief Minister said while addressing the post-budget press conference held at Chief Minister House.

He said although NFC Award is pending, yet another big achievement is that Prime Minister accepted our right on GST on services.

The Prime Minister had said that GST is the provincial right and Constitution is quite clear in this respect, the Chief Minister said adding that Sindh has received some amount on this count and it will get its right.

He pointed out that Sindh Government’s emphasis is on poverty reduction and social protection.
In this regard he particularly referred to Benazir Bhutto Youth Development Program, Land for landless Haris, houses for shelterless people etc and said that all these programs were aimed at alleviating poverty.

In relation to poverty alleviation, the Chief Minister referred to ongoing programs and said that during fiscal 2008-9, Sindh Government distributed 41,000 acres out of a total 2.25 lac acres among 5000 beneficiaries - 70% being Women.

He said during the current sowing season, these beneficiaries would be extended support package comprising of seed and fertilizer for cottton and rice crops.

He informed that next phase is about to begin and about 5000 beneficiaries are to be targeted.
As regards housing for poor, he said that a pilot program has been launched in Thatta, Badin and Karachi in partnership with UNDP while another pilot program is under implementation through RSPs while Low Cost Schemes are under preparation for 4 to 5 sites in Larkana; Hyderabad, Khairpur, Jacobabad, Thatta etc.

The Chief Minister also drew jurnalist’s attention towards UC-Based Poverty Reduction Program and said Poverty Score of 87,000 households finalized, 5300 household received microcredit through Community Investment Fund, 1600 children received training, 37 water supply schemes completed and based on visible signs, the Change Program would be expanded to other Districts
As new initiatives, he informed about budgeted Benazir Women Support Grant of Rs.4 billion and Cash Grant program to target 500,000 poor women, Micro Finance & Agriculture Credit through Sindh Bank (Rs. 2 billion budgeted)

The Sindh Bank, he explained would be a public-private partnership commercial venture in which private sector to hold majority shares and the Bank to be managed through sound management principles.

Sindh Bank would have a big component of Microfinance for small enterprises, agriculture credit for targeting farmers in rural Sindh, he added.

He specially made mention of school nutrition program being started for better nutrition of children & encouraging their enrolment and to support the weak and vulnerable.

The Chief Minister described Law & Order another priority area of the government given high priority ion the budget and said that police budget has been pitched at Rs 24.2 billion for FY 2009 with 11 percent increase over last year, Rs. I.2 billion for vehicles, surveillance system, arms and ammunition.

He said that 5000 new posts would be created for expanding the Police Force while 1000 police personnel are being provided special training to form as “Rapid Response Force” which can respond to terrorists’ activities.

He said e-Policing system has been planned for which Rs. 400 million have been provided In the context of law and order, Syed Qaim Ali Shah referred to Prisons Reforms and said Jail Platoons and a separate Court Police are being raised for which Rs. 300 million have been provided He said a committee has been formed to recommend amendments in the jail manual to make the prisons reform houses in reality.

“Our President has passed eight years in jail and I myself spent 4 and a half ours there and, therefore, knows well the jail conditions”.

He pointed out that dietary charges have raised by over 120% from Rs 30 to Rs. 75 per prisoner per day and for this Rs. 547 million have been allocated.

He informed that allocation for medicine has been raised from Rs. 2.5 million to Rs.25 million and Rs. 25 million provided for bedding & furniture Speaking about Health Sector, the Chief Minister said Health department budget increased from Rs.3.5 billion to Rs. 5.23 billion with 49% increase, essential supplies including medicines, oxygen gas, Xray, diet, medical instruments raised to Rs. 1.9 billion in FY 2009-10 as compared to Rs. 1.4 billion in FY 2008-09

He said that this government strengthened Basic Health Units in far flung areas with doctors and compounders and a lady doctor at each 20 BHUs.

However, in the new fiscal Female Medical officer will be provided at each BHU with improved medicine and other services while Health Department will strengthen RHCs through major revamping.

Other targets highlighted for the health sector during fiscal 2009-10, included strengthening of Nursing and Paramedical Institutes in collaboration with private sector, Hepatitis Free Sindh, Rehabilitation of District Headquarter and Taluka Headquarter Hospitals.

In the context of Education, another important component of social sector, Qaim Ali Shah said that Rs. 6 billion have been allocated for Education on Development side with 27% increase over last year.

He said stipend for girls increased from Rs. 1000 per year to Rs. 2400 per year and this would be provided twice a year for encouraging enrolments and over 330,000 girls would benefit from this.
He informed that differential stipends in the 30 Talukas has been enhanced from Rs. 2400 to 3600 per year besides provision of free text books being expanded to Grade 11 and 12 and approximately 4.6 million children would receive Free Textbooks.

He referred to “Low Cost Private Schools” in the unserved rural and semi-urban areas and informed that 200 schools have been opened and 25,000 children enrolled.

He said this model would be raised to 3500 schools with approximately 500,000 children in one to two years.

As regard higher education in collaboration with private sector the Chief Minister said that Engineering Colleges at Khairpur and Larkana are being setup as a constituent colleges of Mehran University and Quaid-e -Awam University Nawabshah respectively.

He said Dadu Institute of Management in advanced stage of planning and being established in collaboration with SZABIST.

Referring to projects being Taken up through PPP, the Chief Minister said made mention of Hyderabad-Mirpurkhas Dual carriageway and said Letter of Intent (LoI) issued to a Korean Company and work undertaken prior to Concession Agreement.

Describing Thar Coal as the most prestigious project for Sindh Province, Qaim Ali Shah informed that World Bank assisted T A Loan of US $ 30 million is on ground and consultants expected in Sindh shortly for preparing documents for international bidding.

He said a Thar Coal Infrastructure Package of Rs. 2 billion has been earmarked to begin work on infrastructure on fast track basis while government is moving ahead on construction of an airstrip at Islamkot.

He informed about Government of Sindh joint venture with M/S Engro in Block 2 and said further Modalities were being worked out He said M/S China National Machinery Corporation (CMC) and Oracle Coal field (UK) have completed their exploratory work in Sonda and Thar Coal fields and they are expected to submit their feasibility soon.

The Chief Minister explained new approach for Revitalizing Agriculture envisaging Partnership with Competitiveness Support Fund for creating and promoting Agri businesses in Sindh.

He informed that Rs. 2.4 billion earmarked as Sindh Development Fund and said target given for at least two to three Agro-Based industries in strategic areas such as Fruit Processeing Units, Packaging Industry, Dairy Milk Processessing, Halal meat etc.

He said allocation for Agriculture raised by 89% from Rs 2.3 billion to Rs. 4.8 billion for FY 2009-10 during which 3000 Tractors to be provided to farmers of 25-30 acres of land through balloting and Government would provide a subsidy of Rs. 2 to 3 lacs.