KARACHI - Like at federal level, the MQM has presented a shadow budget of Sindh for next fiscal year 2012-13. It suggested imposition of agriculture tax immediately and Rs2.5 billion as subsidy on wheat flour for people living in district headquarters/urban centres of the Sindh province.

After placing the budget proposals in the Sindh cabinet meeting, the Parliamentary leader of the MQM in Sindh Assembly Syed Sardar Ahmed, Deputy Parliamentary leader Faisal Sabzwari and other provincial ministers of party unveiled their budget proposals at a press conference at new Sindh secretariat on Saturday.  

In its shadow budget, the MQM has proposed total expenditures of Rs484 billion including development and non-development against receipts/income of Rs496 billion for next financial year 2012-13, showing surplus budget of over Rs10 billion.

MQM’s lawmakers proposed Rs160 billion development budget for next financial year.

In their shadow budget, the MQM lawmakers submitted a finance bill, suggesting abolition of existing agriculture tax and bringing the agriculture, livestock and fisheries products in the scope of income tax.

In the budget proposals, the MQM lawmakers emphasized on adopting the universally accepted principle that all taxable incomes are to be taxed and rationalized, suggesting to rationalize the existing Sindh Land Tax and Agricultural Income Tax Ordinance.

Reduction of the non-development revenue expenditure has been proposed in the budget proposals, suggesting that the expenditure on Police be increased to Rs35.956 billion at the Current Expenditure level. The MQM has proposed provincial Intelligence Bureau in police as currently provincial police depend only on federal secret agencies. The MQM lawmakers has suggested Rs5 billion for creation of a Provincial Intelligence Bureau under Home Secretary at Karachi and its regional offices at each District Headquarter.

MQM has proposed rationalization and reduction of Sales Tax on Services from 16 percent to 12 percent.

In its budget proposals, the MQM lawmakers proposed that supply of Ata/flour at Urban Centres (District Headquarters) at a subsidized rate of Rs750 per 40 kg on issuance of Ration Cards or through other mechanism (Utility stores have failed miserably to provide atta, sugar etc on subsidized rates to the genuine consumers) Subsidy of Rs2.5 billion to growers and Rs.2 billion to city dweller consumers needs to be paid to achieve this target.

The MQM further proposed the merger of Board of Revenue and Sindh Revenue Board under the overall supervision of the Finance Department.

MQM has proposed allocation of Rs.440 million (20 million to each 22 District Headquarters Hospitals and Rs.150 million  for upgrading and provisioning the health services of Civil Hospital, Jinnah Hospital and other five Town Hospitals of Karachi and Rs.500 million for Taluka Hospitals, Rural Urban Health Centres and Basic Health Units for better health facilities.(Capital Development).

To provide additional funds for the Curative and Preventive Health Services, the allocation of Health Department should be increased from the actual Rs15.4 billion to Rs.23.7 billion, besides the Capital Development Expenditure of Rs8 billion for Education Department and Rs10.640 billion for Health Services has been proposed.

Allocation of Rs 5 billion for the infra-structure development of the 22 District Headquarters including Rs.1500 million for the City of Karachi also proposed by the MQM lawmakers.

MQM proposed for conversion of Sindh Commercial Bank into Micro Credit Bank having at least 103 branches in each Taluka headquarter to cater the needs of the poor business persons, traders, craftsmen, farmers, and so on.

MQM in its proposals has emphasized that instead of planning a new City that will cost billion of rupees and that too for the benefit of the rich, the economic and social infra structure at all District Headquarters need to be improved with the assistance of town planners of the private sector.

MQM proposed for monitoring and evaluation team for each District of very reputable honest citizens (including MPAs and elected members of the Local Government) for constant vigilance and monthly evaluation reports, besides the provincial budget be presented in the Sindh Assembly for quarterly review. 

In their opening remarks, the MQM ministers said that the shadow budget was vision of MQM’s Qaid Altaf Hussain, who wrought change in the complexion of the Assemblies by inducting the middle and low middle class, and who by throwing gauntlet to the hereditary politicians, now seeks to transform the Economics of Public Sector that conforms to the ideals of a Welfare State.

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To a question, MQM’s parliamentary leader Syed Sardar Ahmed said that Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah and Finance Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah assured them of incorporating their proposals in the upcoming budget for next fiscal year.