KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, in order to boost recoveries of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, directed the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) on Thursday to collect local taxes on behalf of the city’s municipality to make it financially strong.
He took this decision while presiding over a meeting held to resolve pension issues of the local bodies — the KMC, DMCs, KDA and other local committees — here at CM House. The meeting was attended by Agriculture Minister Ismail Rahu, Local Government Minister Nasir Shah, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, finance secretary Hassan Naqvi, agriculture secretary Rahim Soomro and the KMC’s municipal commissioner.
The chief minister was told that the KMC had 12,900 employees and their salary bill was over Rs560 million and pension bill was Rs330m but the recoveries were very low compared to expenditures.
The LG minister said that the KMC was paying pension to its retired employees on a regular basis but payment of gratuity had become an issue, therefore, the retired employees were facing problems.
The chief minister said that it was injustice with the retired employees, therefore, the local government, in consultation with the finance department, should resolve the issue and report it to him.
The metropolitan corporation has 12,900 employees with their salary bill being Rs560m and pension bill Rs330m
As for the long term, Mr Shah said, the KMC must improve its recoveries. “The finance department would provide necessary funds if there is any shortfall in payment of outstanding gratuity,” he said.
Murad Ali Shah directed the SRB to explore ways to start collection of KMC’s local taxes so that their revenue could be increased.
He directed the LG secretary to hold a meeting with the SRB and explore possibilities of handing them over the KMC recoveries. “I want the KMC to be a self-sufficient organisation by improving the performance of its revenue-generating organisation,” he said.
The CM said that the provincial government was giving Rs161.035m as Octroi and Zila Tax, Rs430m regular grant-in-aid and Rs215.489m pension contribution and Rs806.524m on a monthly basis to the KMC. “We are fully supporting the metropolitan corporation, but it has to be a better organisation by rationalising its expenditures and improving its performance,” he said.
Murad Ali Shah directed the KMC to digitise its property data by doing geo-mapping and regularising its unregistered markets and shops. He added that the KMC should conduct a survey for enhancing its rental rates as per present market value.
Mr Shah said the KMC had its petrol pumps and it should auction them preferably to oil companies instead of giving them to individuals. “You have a lot of open plots at most valuable locations where the KMC can establish new filling stations, malls on PPP mode,” he said.
Published in Dawn, February 26th, 2021