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Sindh CM ready to brief federal cabinet on IGP transfer issue

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah informed the provincial cabinet on Tuesday that he had told Prime Minister Imran Khan that he was ready to brief the federal cabinet on the controversial issue involving appointment of the new inspector general of police but it was “unreasonable” to consult the governor over the issue.

“The prime minister told me that the federal cabinet has reservation on the change of the IGP, therefore it [cabinet] has left the matter between you [CM] and the Sindh governor to decide it with consultation,” the CM disclosed it at the cabinet meeting held at the New Sindh Secretariat.

Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, all cabinet members and officials concerned attended the meeting.

The chief minister said he told the prime minister the matter had turned contentious; thus it would be unreasonable to drag the governor into it. “However, I am ready to brief the federal cabinet if the prime minister desires so.”

The provincial cabinet approves an amendment in the Stamp Act 1899 to give e-stamps legal cover

He said the PM had told him removal of the IGP had been agreed upon but consensus on his replacement was yet to be agreed upon.

Cabinet members said the CM with the approval of the cabinet had already given seven names to the federal cabinet and one of them, as promised by the PM, should be posted as the new IGP.

Wheat support price

The provincial cabinet decided to offer substantial support price of wheat as 37 per cent total [wheat] production would be purchased from every district to support the farmers equally.

However, the support price would be announced once the federal government notified its revised price.

The chief minister said prices of the wheat crop inputs had increased manifold; thus its support price must be increased accordingly.

He suggested to the cabinet that the government would procure 37pc of the total wheat production of every district so that the benefit of the increased price could be passed on to all growers.

The cabinet after discussing the matter approved the proposal.

The cabinet was told that the price of a jute bag in the market was Rs237 while the price of a PP bag was Rs68. It decided to procure 20pc jute bags and 80pc PP bags. The cabinet has already fixed procurement target at 1.4 million metric tons.

It was said the government had allocated Rs38 billion for wheat procurement while the required funds were Rs53.4bn. Thus, the cabinet approved another Rs15.4bn for procurement.

Rs128bn shortfall in federal transfers

CM Shah told the cabinet that during the current financial year the federal government was to transfer Rs835bn to Sindh. The first seven months’ share came to Rs487bn against which Sindh had received merely Rs359bn showing a shortfall of Rs128bn.

The chief minister directed his cabinet members to hold open katcheries in the last week of February in districts where they had been held earlier.

He also directed the chief secretary to submit to him a detailed report on implementation status of the directives his cabinet members had issued in the earlier open katcheries.

The cabinet was told that a grade-19 officer of the prisons department, Aijaz Hussain, was killed by a proscribed organisation in 2015 and his son had requested the CM to posthumously promote his father to the post of DIG-Prisons in grade 20.

The cabinet under the Shaheed Recognition Act approved his posthumous promotion.

The cabinet also approved a proposal of the finance department to enhance medical reimbursement bills amount from Rs300,000 to Rs3 million.

The secretary of the administrative department concerned had been authorised to reimburse bills of up to Rs1m on his/her own.

Repair budget for over 45,000 schools

On the request of the school education department, the cabinet discussed purchase of furniture for schools and directed the department to make school-specific purchases and put the quantity of furniture provided to a school on its website.

This would enable the local people and department to look after the furniture accordingly.

The cabinet also asked the education department to utilise repairs and maintenance budget of schools. The chief minister said there were more than 45,000 schools in the province and their repairs must continue throughout the year.

The Board of Revenue (BoR) proposed an amendment in the Stamp Act 1899 so that electronically generated stamps [e-stamps] and other documents could be given legal cover.

The chief minister said the BoR had collected Rs9.9bn in the last fiscal year and it had been given a target of Rs15bn for the current financial year.

He added after introduction of e-stamping the revenue should increase manifold. “The electronically generated documents would have no need of signature but they would have a bar [code] which would be verified through scanning,” he said.

The cabinet approved the amendment and referred it to the provincial legislature.

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