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Sindh Assembly Burns Taxpayers’ Money With Its Incompetence

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Sindh’s government is always contending that it lacks funds to initiate projects related to public development. Two days back, the province had requested the Supreme Court seeking deposits made by Bahria Town in light of its settlement pertaining to projects in Karachi. The move had been motivated by the fact that the province did not have enough money to fulfill its budgetary needs.

However, it is surprising that despite the fact that the provincial government is frequently lamenting the lack of funds, it is at the same time, wasting tons of taxpayers’ money on running its assembly’s sessions while no substantial headway is made on any issue.

This is evident from the fact that no significant legislation or debate on issues pertaining to the needs of the public has occurred in the Sindh assembly since June. Millions of rupees are spent to run the sessions of the assembly daily while legislators also receive additional allowances, and yet nothing important has come out of these sessions.

According to a report in Express Tribune, the current session of Sindh Assembly commenced on June 12, and continues to this day as majority of the sittings of this session have been adjourned in a short period of time without discussing the agenda of the house.

Over the last two months, taxpayers’ money has gone to complete waste as there has been no debate on any issue of public interest and no substantive legislation has been drafted. Just yesterday, the speaker of the Sindh Assembly adjourned the session in a minute, giving the reason as lack of quorum.

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The report cites figures given by members of the opposition, which indicate that one session of the assembly expends Rs5 million of taxpayers’ money. The cost includes the allowances received by members of the provincial assembly and the assembly staff. It also includes the cost for electricity bills, stationary expenses, and other overheads.

An official of the Sindh Assembly’s accounts department informed media that for every session, an MPA from a rural area has the right to receive Rs7000 as allowance. MPAs who travel to Karachi from different district are also given Rs20 per kilometre. This is separate from the monthly salary of Rs 147000. Meanwhile, every MPA who resides in Karachi is also given Rs2000 as conveyance and daily allowance. Moreover, sessions frequently start late in the afternoon or evening, and the government also pays overtime charges and allowances to the assembly staff.

This does not end here. Official documents also indicate that an astounding Rs730 million was allocated to meet the assembly’s expenses for the current fiscal year. Rs100 million out of this has been set aside to pay for new cars, air conditioners and photocopiers.

A Sindh Assembly lawmaker belonging to the Grand Democratic Alliance, Arif Mustafa Jatoi, told media that the number of Rs5million per day was exaggerated and the actual expenses are between Rs2.5 to Rs3 million.

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Naya Daur