The coronavirus has indeed affected the country’s revenue but it wasn’t there the entire 12 months, said Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah during a post-budget news conference on Thursday.
He said the federal was trying to pin the blame for its own shortcomings on the coronavirus. Shah said it wasn’t ready to collect even one-third of its targeted revenue.
He lambasted the Centre for its incompetence in running government affairs, which has hurt the country’s economic performance. He said that the govt was already missing its collection and economic process targets and COVID-19 only aggravated the matter .
“Even if we double the performance (for the sake of argument) during the last three months (affected by coronavirus), even then the Centre won’t have reached Rs4,400 billion,” Shah said. The initial estimate government gave was of Rs5,500 billion.
He also doubted the Rs3,900 billion collection figures reported by the govt . He said that FBR under-performed during the year and earned historically low revenues for the country.
Shah also accused the Centre of stealing Rs229 billion from Sindh’s kitty within the next budget.
Meanwhile, speaking about the Sindh budget Shah said that there was no new scheme aside from one for heath. He also praised doctors for fighting the pandemic on the frontlines.
He said that he was in favor of the lockdown from the start to contain the spread of COVID-19 and now PM Imran Khan has concurred that a lockdown was necessary. The PM has been against an entire lockdown, citing fears that the underprivileged would struggle.
The chief minister said that budgeting for subsequent year has been done keeping in mind the available resources, which can be Rs1.08 trillion.
Shah added that the last time Sindh’s budget was balanced but he wasn’t so confident this point thanks to the continued health and subsequent depression .