ISLAMABAD: The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) cannot function properly until its schedule of establishment is approved.

“So far, the MCI’s all important schedule of establishment has not been approved. So how can we move forward,” Mayor Sheikh Anser Aziz asked.

Formed in 2016 following Islamabad’s first local government elections, the MCI has failed to deliver because of its incomplete rules.

Speaking to Dawn, the mayor said the finance ministry has said in clear terms that the schedule of establishment could not be processed until the division of assets and staff between the MCI and the Capital Development Authority (CDA) is completed.

“Unfortunately, there is no progress on either front. The CDA has yet to devolve the 15 remaining directorates, while the issues of employees are still undecided,” he said, adding that the finance ministry refused a few months ago to pass the MCI’s proposed schedule of establishment.

Quoting a letter from the Ministry of Interior, the mayor said that as far as the MCI’s schedule of establishment is concerned, it can be considered processed after theMinistry of Interior, CDA and MCI clearly divide their directorates, job assignments, manpower, assets and liabilities in writing.

The interior ministry may first bifurcate their two departments, he quoted the letter, which refers to the finance ministry’s observations.

MCI officials said that the corporation cannot work properly without the schedule of establishment. Currently, 11,000 CDA employees are working at various MCI directorates in stop-gap arrangements. They remain CDA employees, under the MCI’s temporary administrative control.

“Until the schedule of establishment is finalised, we cannot perform efficiently, technically speaking we are running the MCI with borrowed staff and funds,” an MCI official said.

He said the MCI is supposed to resolve people’s issues at the grassroots level but is struggling to get duerecognitionfrom the federal government.

“Neither the PML-N nor the PTI showed any interest in the MCI, which is unfortunate,” he said.

Since the MCI was formed in 2016, the corporation has had no funding or power to resolve issues facing its constituents. It did not receive funding from the PML-N government or the PTI government to carry out development work.

In the meantime, Islamabad residents have borne the brunt because of the MCI’s poor performance.

When contacted, CDA spokesperson Syed Sardar Ali said that the CDA has been cooperating with the MCI from the first day it was created.

He said the CDA has given the MCI loans, and administrative control of their staff has been given to the MCI.

Asked about the 15 remaining directorates, which have been partially devolved to the MCI, he said: “This issue will soon be resolved, as the other day the federal government also notified the local government board so we are hopeful the issues of the MCI will be resolved.”

Another CDA official said that the MCI still has full control of 22 directorates and should focus on them, as it will require more funding when it gets control of more directorates.

“Instead of focusing on new directorates, the MCI should pay attention to getting funding for development work,” he said.

An MCI official said that until the issues of remaining directorates and human resource is not settled, the finance ministry will not pass the schedule of establishment, which is linked to human resource issues.

“Without having the schedule of establishment, we cannot make new recruitments so we cannot issue transfer, posting orders etc,” the official said.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2019