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CM Sindh orders audit of exponential rise in pension payments

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Thursday ordered a high-level inquiry over the huge expenditures incurred in the account payments of pensions.

The chief minister issued the directives while presiding over a meeting on three-year budget strategy 2016-17 to 2020-21.The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary Sohail Rajput and all the concerned officers of finance, planning and development department and Sindh Revenue Board.

During the presentation, the chief minister was told that during the financial year 2015-16 the payments of pension were recorded at Rs52.8 billion. This increase to Rs70 billion in 2016-17 and again increased to Rs76 billion in 2017-18.

CM Sindh expressed immense displeasure over the exponential rise and said that the amount being spent on payments of pension is quite huge and seems to be rather dubious.

The chief minister directed his principal secretary to constitute a high-power inquiry and audit committee to investigate the pension payments. He also allowed hiring the services of a professional auditor if required.

He said that the audit and inquiry should be started from the districts where huge payments have been made, and must be made in a professional and transparent manner. He also directed the finance department to computerize the entire pension system, along with the payments and number of pensioners.

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Budget strategy and development to formed as per projections

The chief minister was told that in 2015-16 the development expenditures were Rs137.3 billion, in 2016-16 Rs210.1 billion and in 2017-18 Rs344.1 billion.

The meeting was told that that during the last three years the revenue receipts have shown an increase of 8.9 percent while the next year an increase of 14 percent is expected. During 2015-16 Rs650.9 billion were received, in 2016-17 Rs692.9 billion and in 2017-18 Rs854.3 billion are expected to be received.

The chief minister was also informed that straight transfer from the federal government were Rs518 billion in 2015-16, Rs539.9 billion in 2016-17, Rs654.6 billion in 2017-18.

The provincial government expects that in 2018-19 it would be around Rs743.1 billion, in 2019-20 Rs845.4 billion and in 2020-21 933.4 billion. CM Sindh directed the finance and planning and development departments to make budget strategies and development projects as per projected figures.

It was also pointed out that  Rs61.5 billion were received in 2015-16 from sales tax revenues, Rs78.5 billion in 2016-17, and Rs100 billion are expected in 2017-18 and in 2018-19 it would be more than Rs115 billion.

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