ISLAMABAD: On the request of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI), the interior ministry has moved a summary to the finance ministry of a special grant of Rs14 billion for the local government setup.

MCI falls under the administrative control of the interior ministry.

Officials of the corporation said a Rs14 billion budget - Rs9 billion for non-development expenses and the rest for development schemes - has been approved by the ministry of interior.

After approval, the ministry moved the summary to the finance ministry, the competent ministry for releasing funds.

Rs9bn will be used for non-development expenses, the rest will pay for development schemes

MCI officials told Dawn the finance ministry will send the summary to the Prime Minister’s Office for final approval.

Chief Metropolitan Officer (CMO) Syed Najaf Iqbal told Dawn on Tuesday that he is hoping MCI will get the funds.

He said Rs5 billion will be used for public welfare development schemes such as the establishment of a slaughter house, construction of pavements, repairing roads and leaked water supply lines.

The CMO said Rs9 billion will be spent on non-development schemes including paying employees their salaries.

“The approval of our file by the interior ministry is a positive step,” he said.

The local government elections were held in Nov 2015 and MCI was formed in May-June 2016. So far, the corporation does not have a budget or rules and regulations.

During its last year, the PML-N government had allocated over Rs3 billion for the MCI’s dozen development schemes in the Public Sector Development Programmes (PSDP) for 2018-19 though it is yet to be seen if this amount will be released in the ongoing financial year.

“The Rs5 billion we have demanded for development schemes has nothing to do with the schemes placed in the PSDP. They are for separate projects,” an MCI official said.

PTI is in the opposition in MCI and after forming the federal government as expected, the PTI is likely to pay special attention to the MCI.

MCI opposition leader, PTI’s Ali Awan told Dawn the local government setup will be strengthened and that the PTI government will take steps for the provision of basic health, education and development schemes for residents of the federal capital.

Sources in PTI’s local chapter said there are also chances of new elections being held so the party has a chance of winning the local elections as well.

There are also rumours that the mayor, PML-N’s Sheikh Anser Aziz will be replaced by Ali Awan. However, the PTI requires a two-thirds majority for passing a no-confidence motion which seems impossible.

Of a total of 77 members, PTI has 27 but 51 votes are required for passing such a resolution.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2018