ISLAMABAD: A parliamentary committee may be able to resolve issues between the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) stemming from the partial devolution of 15 departments.

Sources said Senator Mian Mohammad Ateeq Shaikh presided over a meeting of the committee at the Ministry of Interior on Monday where CDA and MCI officials spoke on the matter. After hearing both parties, the committee recommended resolving the issue within a week.

Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz told the committee that the MCI had faced administrative and financial problems after the local government. He asked that the 15 departments be partially devolved so they can function smoothly. CDA Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed and other officers also spoke.

Sources said the committee wished to resolve the matter within a week so both organisations may operate better.

Officials from both organisations spoke about partial devolution of 15 departments at meeting on Monday

According to the Local Government Act, 23 and 15 CDA departments, respectively, were to be fully and partially devolved to the MCI. The partial devolutions have not been carried out.

These 15 departments include human resource department I and II, finance I and II, accounts, audit, enforcement, treasury, information technology, public relations, security, coordination and revnue.

CDA officials Dawn spoke to said that the MCI’s financial and business rules have not yet been framed, and a local government board has not yet been formed. Until these formalities are completed, they said it would be difficult for the CDA to partially devolve its directorates to the MCI.

The officials said that according to the Local Government Act, the board is the competent authority to carry out appointments, transfers and postings and deal with other matters.

However MCI officials said it was not the CDA’s business to point out whether MCI rules have been framed, and they should devolve the departments under the act.

They said that the MCI is already looking after the affairs of 23 directorates, so it would not be difficult for it to handle 15 partially devolved ones.

According to the aforementioned act, nearly all of the CDA’s functions other than planning and engineering are supposed to be devolved to the MCI. However, the government has not yet framed the MCI’s rules of establishment or business, nor has it formed a local government board.

The issue has lingered for three years, and has made the MCI practically non-functional. This has also led to disappointment for Islamabad residents who voted in the local government elections in November 2015.

The committee, which met on Monday, was formed by the Senate Standing Committee on Interior to resolve issues between both organisations.

During its last meeting, the standing committee had expressed concerns regarding the rift between the MCI and the CDA and its chair, Senator Rehman Malik, also wrote to the prime minister asking him to help resolve their issues.

Formed in 2016, the MCI has yet to receive any development funds from the federal government and its rules of business have not been approved. As a stop-gap, the CDA has been providing the MCI with loans so it can pay its staff and meet necessary expenditure.

Published in Dawn, March 19th, 2019