Sindh focused on poverty reduction: CM


KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali said on Wednesday that the provincial government was focusing more on energy projects and rural development and reduction of inequity through public-private partnership programmes.

The chief minister expressed these views while addressing the Sindh Development Forum 2018 attended by country heads of 19 donor agencies.

“When we were in power, we faced enormous challenges of law and order, rising inequity and poverty, and weakening federation,” he said, adding individuals and institutions felt hapless due to the daunting challenges.

The CM said that precarious law and order situation had fueled uncertainty and caused capital flight, which increased poverty and led to violence and crime. He added that the key to breaking this vicious cycle was to overcome terrorism, sectarian violence, and organised crime.

The chief minister said it is matter of pride that since 2013 the extent of such incidents had reduced tremendously, and as a result, confidence of business community and foreign investors had improved, which culd be attested by generally improving economic conditions and keen Chinese interest in Special Economic Zones in Sindh, besides the successful organisation of the final match of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

‘All provincial governments using BISP’

The CM said the commodity price shock of mid-2000s which pushed many people below poverty line especially poor farmers had been a major challenge, requiring the introduction of a social safety net.

“BISP is the flagship safety net in Pakistan, starting from a social safety net, BISP have now grown into a comprehensive social protection programme,” he said, adding that it has a national socioeconomic registry, transparent criteria for beneficiary identification and targeting, and possibilities of embedding graduation strategies.

He went on to saying that the programme was initiated for consumption smoothening but was now being used for a variety of socioeconomic interventions such Waseela-e-Sehet, Waseela-e-Taleem, Khidmst Card, etc. He said that all provincial governments were using BISP for launching social and economic sectors programmes.

‘PPP pushed devolution of resources against all odds’

The chief minister said that sustainable decline in poverty can only be realised by using bottom up approaches and they have embarked on community development investment for poverty reduction.

“It should especially be noted that community development is not politically attractive as its positive effects manifests only after long period. However, despite the political risks, the government started the program and it has been a great success and now federal government has requested our partner to help in replicating the similar programme in other parts of country,” he said.

He said they are leveraging upon the investment since 2009, and using the social capital for launching poverty reduction program. He disclosed that rural growth centers will be launched in the 2018-19 budget to achieve poverty reduction.

Shah said that they believe in strong federation but are clear that strength between federating units lies in fairness of resource distribution, and that federation weakens due to inequity.

He said the PPP government pushed the devolution of resources against all odds from those who wanted to perpetuate the concentration of resources and unfairness. He claimed that whole decentralized planning would not have started if devolution had not happened.

He said further that the current provincial regime is leveraging on the foundation established in the last tenure, and their approach focuses on regional sources of growth, strengthening social and economic equity, adopting fiscal measures for resource generation and finally, using public private partnership.

‘Thar coal is premise of energy sovereignty in Pakistan’. Talking about Thar coal, the chief minister said the project had been conceived as ushering into the era of energy sovereignty in Pakistan.

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