KARACHI: Amid uproar and opposition’s boycott, the City Council on Tuesday unanimously passed the Rs27.160 billion budget of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation for financial year 2018-19.
The budget was presented by Mayor Wasim Akhtar during the council’s meeting held at the Council Hall of the KMC Building.
As the mayor started presenting the budget, members of opposition parties — Pakistan Peoples Party, Jamaat-i-Islami and Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf — chanted slogans against the mayor and tore up the copies of the budget document.
Members of combined opposition parties criticise Karachi mayor during his budget speech
Later, they walked out of the house in protest and the budget was approved unanimously in their absence.
The house echoed with anti-mayor slogans as Mr Akhtar kept on reading out the budget document with his voice sinking amidst the uproar. However, the house witnessed calm after the opposition members walked out.
Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Syed Saif-ur-Rehman and financial adviser Dr Asghar Abbas Shaikh were also present.
The mayor informed the house that total receipts in the budget for year 2018-19 were Rs26.170bn, including Rs19.218bn as current receipts and Rs1.892bn as capital receipts.
Funds for provincial annual development programme (ADP) and district ADP will be Rs6.059bn.
He said that total expenditure for the next fiscal year will be Rs27.160bn out of which Rs13.312bn is allocated for the establishment; Rs2.110bn for contingent expenses and Rs217.165 million for repair and maintenance.
“Besides, Rs5.461bn has been earmarked for development projects and works, while expenditures from provincial ADP and district ADP will be Rs6.059bn,” the mayor said.
Budget contains no new tax
Giving details of the budget, the mayor said that no new tax was levied and focus was mainly on making existing revenue resources better and to make this budget realistic and balanced.
He said despite financial constraints, “we are presenting Rs11.5bn development budget for next year which includes development schemes suggested by the elected representatives of the council”.
Referring to development works that had been carried out in the city during the current fiscal year, he said that a total of 206 district ADP schemes were completed during 2017-18 with Rs4.327bn in all districts of Karachi and the district council remits.
“We have planned to bring 194 new schemes next year with a cost of Rs5.629bn to raise the development portfolio further and to bring a lot of development work in Karachi,” he said.
Mr Akhtar said that in order to make the development resources available the KMC continued its efforts and raised the issue of negligence committed by the previous governments and held meetings with the high-ups of the country and as a result, Karachi got the Rs25bn Prime Minister’s Package for development works.
“Under the package many schemes will be executed next year including reconstruction of Manghopir Road from Jam Chakro to Banaras; construction of flyover alongside Shershah Suri Road, Sakhi Hassan, Five Star Roundabout and KDA Chowrangi and reconstruction of Nishtar Road from Teen Hatti to Napier Road besides rehabilitation and upgrade of existing firefighting system in KMC,” he said.
Call to increase monthly grant of UCs
The mayor expressed the hope that with the availability of more funds from various sources, large-scale infrastructure development will be seen in the city in the next few years.
During the proceedings, members of the council expressed their views and informed the council about the problems being faced by the people in their area.
The mayor assured them that he would write to the local government department for increase in the union council funds.
The mayor also said that all contractual employees of the KMC would be given jobs against existing vacancies.
Members belonging to the ruling party complained that the union committees were not allocated any funds in the budget.
UC chairman of Sultanabad Afsar Khan Khattak, UC chairman of Agra Taj Colony Tajuddin Siddiqui, UC chairman of Korangi’s Zia Colony Mohammed Ishaq and other UC chairmen demanded the mayor to arrange funds for their respective UCs.
They said that they got a meagre amount of Rs200,000 each per month from the local government department and the amount was not sufficient for municipal work in their respective constituencies.
The mayor told them that under the rules and regulations he could not issue funds directly to the UCs. He said that he would approach the provincial government for raising the ceiling of Rs200,000.
Published in Dawn, June 27th, 2018