ISLAMABAD: The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) has failed to finalise proposals for onward submission to the federal government seeking a budget for the financial year 2017-18.
The MCI, which was formed after the November 30, 2015 elections, has so far not received a single penny from the government for development projects.
Last year, because of a delay in its notification the MCI could not seek proposals for development funds for the financial year 2016-17.
Mayor says only 23 out of 50 UCs have submitted their proposals for development schemes
Now when the federal government is in the process of finalising the national budget, the MCI is still least bothered to complete the process of submitting proposals for their inclusion in the budget.
“I’m also worried about the delay in finalising the proposals. So far, out of the total 50 union councils, 23 have submitted their proposals for development schemes,” Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz told Dawn.
He said last month all the UC chairmen had been directed to submit their proposals within two weeks but to no avail.
“On Friday, we issued another reminder to the chairmen to finalise their proposals,” the mayor said, adding development works in 32 rural union councils depended on the release of funds.
“We will ensure getting maximum funds from the federal government. Last year we could not get a development budget as the MCI was notified in June,” he said.
On March 10, the CDA finance wing through a letter also expressed concerns over the delay in finalisation of the budget proposals for non-development expenditure.
In continuation of various requests made from to time for the submission of proposals, nothing has been received from the formations of the MCI.
As the national budget would be finalised shortly, it is feared that any further delay in the submission of the proposals may lead to non-incorporation of the MCI proposals in the federal budget, stated the letter.
Therefore, it added, the finance wing was left with no option but to propose last year’s budget with a 15pc increase.
“The proposed draft budget for the financial year 2017-18 relating to non-development expenditure of Rs11,992.502 million is being sent to the MCI for scrutiny, personal efforts and intervention to take up the matter with your controlling ministry for the budget 2017-18,” added the letter addressed to Chief Metropolitan Officer (CMO) Asad Mehboob Kayani. The letter was written by Deputy Finance Adviser Shahbazul Hassan of the CDA.
When contacted, CMO Kayani said the MCI would submit its non-development budget proposals to the interior ministry on Monday. “As far as the development budget is concerned, we are finalising the schemes whose PC-I would be approved before seeking the budget.” He said before the formation of the MCI, the department of local government was a part of the capital administration which had several approved projects.
“Now these approved schemes are a part of the MCI and there will no difficulty for us to seek funds for them,” he said.
When contacted, opposition leader in the MCI Ali Awan said union councils were not yet formed as there were still no secretaries and technical staff to guide the chairmen. He said the MCI was responsible for the delay in the finalisation of the budget proposals by the UCs.
“What to talk of development budget for the upcoming financial year, so far the MCI has failed to get funds for paying salaries to its employees. The CDA is providing loans to the MCI to run its affairs,” he said, adding the federal government was not serious about the local government in the federal capital.
Published in Dawn, March 20th, 2017