Monday July 22, 2024

KMC passes surplus budget of Rs49.6bn amid opposition’s protest

By Our Correspondent
June 25, 2024
Opposition members of the district government are holding a protest demonstration against the Districts Councils Budget 2024-25 during the district assembly annual budget session at the Old KMC building in Karachi on June 24, 2024. — PPI
Opposition members of the district government are holding a protest demonstration against the Districts Council's Budget 2024-25 during the district assembly annual budget session at the Old KMC building in Karachi on June 24, 2024. — PPI

The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) City Council on Monday approved its budget with a surplus of Rs99.707 million for the upcoming fiscal year 2024-25 by a majority vote amid commotion by the Jamaat-e-Islami’s (JI) members.

Karachi Mayor Barrister Murtaza Wahab presented the budget with Rs18,154.76 million allocated for development. Karachi Deputy Mayor Salman Abdullah Murad, Municipal Commissioner Afzal Zaidi and others were also present on the occasion.

Members of the JI resorted to protest during the budget session. Holding placards against the mayor and K-Electric, they caused commotion and shouted that the mayor was a thief. According to the budget documents, the KMC’s total income in the coming fiscal year has been estimated at Rs49,701.845 million, while the estimated expenditure is Rs49,602.138 million. The current receipts are Rs39,718.132 million and capital receipts are Rs815.213 million.

Establishment expenses have been estimated at Rs27,846.975 million, contingent expenses at Rs3,176.048 million and repair and maintenance works at Rs424.355 million.

Presenting his first budget as the mayor, Wahab said efforts were being made to provide maximum facilities to the residents of Karachi. Regarding development projects, he mentioned that funds had been allocated under the Federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) Development Scheme 2024-25, with a total cost of Rs10,000 million for the Karachi Development Package.

He said Rs103.256 million had been allocated for road maintenance and repair, Rs1,000 million for the improvement of sports grounds, Rs111.62 million for the beautification of parks, and Rs8,785.118 million for the repair and beautification of bridges, flyovers, and underpasses. He said that under the Annual Provincial Development Program, Phase I of the Mewa Shah Cemetery and its surroundings had been completed for Rs200.920 million, with work on Phase II to be completed in this fiscal year. The Shaheed-e-Millat Expressway KPT Flyover to Manzoor Colony Phase I scheme has been completed at a cost of Rs516.000 million, with work on Phase II was under way and expected to be completed in the outgoing fiscal year.

For 2024-25, 162 new schemes under the Provincial ADP have been proposed at an estimated cost of Rs5,788.100 million. Over 150 roads, flyovers, bridges, sidewalks, service roads, pedestrian bridges, and entry and exit streets had been constructed and renovated under the Competitive and Liveable City of Karachi (CLICK) project for Rs2,825 million, he said.

The proposed schemes under the CLICK project for 2024-25 were worth Rs6,476.400 million, he explained, adding that they included the installation of solar-powered LED street lights on three major roads with five years of maintenance, renovation of Shadab Football Ground in Federal B Area Block 11, renovation of Baldia Stadium in Baldia Town, construction of an IT park and centre in Shadman Town, construction of Memon Goth Road in Malir, construction of a road behind the Malir Courts to Murtaza Chowk, construction of a football and cricket ground in UC-3 Mauripur Keamari, and construction of a community centre in UC 7 Murad Memon Goth.

Wahab said that in the District ADP 2023-24, 542 ongoing schemes required Rs2,687 million, but only Rs1,232 million were released, resulting in a shortfall of Rs1,455 million, but in spite of this, the KMC completed 64 development schemes of roads, bridges, flyovers and buildings in various districts.

He said that no new schemes were included in the budget for 2023-24, and Rs1.2 billion provided by the Sindh government would be available this fiscal year, to be spent on development works across the city fairly after the council’s approval.

A project to reintroduce 25 green buses in Karachi for Rs250 million was under way, Wahab said. The issue of municipal utility charges, which had been under court consideration for years, has been resolved in the KMC's favour potentially generating Rs4 billion in revenue for the city, Wahab said.

The KMC's tax system is being modernised and the public-private partnership model would be used to maximise asset utilization, crucial for establishing a sustainable infrastructure. To address the issue of blocked storm water drains, cleaning of 46 major drains was under way, Wahab said, adding that the sale and use of plastic bags that clogged drainage systems and harm the environment and sea should be completely banned.

He said Rs10,802.280 million would be allocated for pension funds, other miscellaneous expenses and bailout packages, Rs6,948.408 million for medical and health services, Rs4,930.843 million for municipal services, Rs2,545.178 million for the engineering department, Rs1,900.036 million for revenue departments including land enforcement, estate, Katchi Abadi, PD Orangi, and charged parking, Rs1,598.879 million for parks horticulture, Rs1,321.852 million for cultural sports and recreation, Rs993.933 million for finance and accounts (MUCT) and Rs235.793 million for the law department.

The expected revenue estimates include Rs25,054.245 million from the government grants including Octrai Zila Tax share, Rs1,850 million from K-Electric's dues to KMC, and Rs9,168.500 million from District ADP.