KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday said that the repealing of the National Accountability Ordinance in the province will restructure and strengthen the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) and the Sindh Assembly will be empowered to appoint its chairman.
The chief minister, speaking during a post-budget conference, said that the harassment of Sindh government officers by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is one of the factors behind less utilisation of development funds in Sindh.
He said that the NAB was created by Gen Musharraf and given constitutional cover by including it into the 6th Schedule to avoid amendments. “Under 18th Constitutional Amendment the 6th schedule was omitted, therefore the NAB law could be amended,” he said.
CM Sindh said that since the anti-corruption is the provincial subject, the Sindh government has repealed the NAB law and is going to establish an autonomous anti-corruption body watchdog on public spending in the province.
Questioning the performance of NAB, CM Sindh that they [NAB] had arrested a chief engineer and a superintendent engineer of irrigation department for lining canals imprisoned them in Sukkur Jail for three months. The judge who granted bail had written in his judgement that the irrigation officers were arrested under malafide intentions.
“The DG NAB Sukkur has occupied a bungalow of Irrigation Department at Barrage Colony Sukkur and latter got it forcibly allotted. Through a scheme of Irrigation Department, he has spent Rs45million of provincial government on its repair and renovation,” he alleged.
He further added that two more bungalows of Irrigation Department at Barrage Colony, one by Assistant Director NAB and other one by NAB judge have been occupied and got them allotted forcibly and renovated for Rs1.5million.
“One bungalow of Works department at GOR Colony Hyderabad and a vehicle of Sindh Irrigation and Drainage Authority (SIDA) is under the use of assistant director NAB and other NAB officer posted at Hyderabad. This is what they are doing with Sindh,” he said.
The chief minister also said that the harassment of Sindh government officers by NAB is one of the factors behind less utilization of development funds in Sindh.
The chief minister said the NAB law had declared the federal and provincial cabinet members and parliamentarians as public office holders like civil servants. This was done with the intention to harass politicians and parliamentarians.
“Why people did not make hue and cry when the federally imposed Local Bodies Ordinance and Police Order were repealed and re-enacted by the provincial governments,” he question and said “just it is being politicized to defame the Sindh government, otherwise we have used our constitutional power,” he said.
He deplored that Sindh Governor has linked repealing of NAB law as an attempt to separate Sindh from the federation. “I am quite surprised on his views. He has constitutional role and he should limit himself with that limits instead of indulging issuing irresponsible political statements,” he said.
He questioned why the Governor did not raise his voice or question when Punjab Chief Minister had warned NAB authorities from crossing their limits.
Earlier, the chief minister discussed the Budget 2017-18 and expressed pride that it is over Rs1 trillion. “The provincial government has two sources for making budget- the federal transfer from divisible pool and the provincial resources,” he said.
The federal government at the beginning of 2016-17 had committed to provide Rs593 billion and then curtailed Rs13 billion committed Rs480 billion. By the end of financial year 2016-17, the federal government provided only Rs440 billion which showed a shortfall of Rs54 billion.
“The provincial government has achieved all its targets. The SRB recovered Rs78 billion and for the current financial year it has been given a target of Rs100 billion,” he said.
CM Sindh that the development budget of the province has been approved at Rs344 billion which include Rs244 billion provincial Annual Development Projects and Rs30 billion District ADP.
“I have given special focus to the development of the province and personally monitoring uplift works,” he said adding that the recent heavy rains developed some cracks in the roads constructed in Karachi are being fixed again by the same contractor for which funds would not be paid.
“We have selected good contractors and are ensuring quality work which is why no accumulation of rain water was reported on Shahrah-e-Faisal because it has been given storm water drain on its both sides,” he said.
He said the education sector has been given top priority by giving Rs202.2 billion budget with 24 percent growth and Health sector has been given Rs100.32 billion budget which is 25.2 percent more than last year. “
Law and order has been allocated Rs90.586 billion which is ten percent higher than the budget of last year. “We give a substantial security amount and compensation in case of martyrdom to Rangers also,” he said.