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July 20, 2018

95% of tax revenue generated from 10 major cities

Islamabad

July 20, 2018

Islamabad: The cities need to better plan and manage their development to handle the urbanisation challenge and meet the demands of their citizens and country, said Federal Minister for Climate Change Muhammad Yousaf Sheikh on Thursday.

The minister also asked the prosperous cities to be more responsive towards environment and adopt technologies and economies that are less wasteful.

"Adapting to climate change is the need of hour and developing climate resilient cities and infrastructure is imperative as the delivery of basic urban infrastructure and utilities are not able to keep pace with rapid urbanization, while the environment is degrading and urban chaos is adding to the challenges of managing urbanisation," he said during a ceremony held here to launch the 'State of Pakistani Cities Report 2018' by the Ministry of Climate Change and UN Habitat with the support of the Australian government.

The minister said the government considering that emerging urbanisation challenges reiterated its commitment towards planning and implementing pragmatic and reflect the ground realities across the country.

He said rapid urban population increase would surpass rural population by 2030. The minister said the vision 2025 sought to have smart and well-connected cities in Pakistan.

Finance minister Dr. Shamshad, who was also in attendance, said growth in urbanisation was caused by internal migration, influx of refugees, natural disasters, economic disparities in rural areas and decline in agricultural sectors.

She said the country faced a number of challenges including waste management, carbon emission and lack of civic sense. We need to work on mainstreaming, equity, inclusiveness should be main principles for urbanization.

The minister said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project would help link cities and municipalities. Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan Margaret Adamson declared the report a timely initiative for sustainable cities.

She appreciated policy initiatives taken by the government of Pakistan including Vision 2025 and Water Policies. UN Resident Coordinator for Pakistan Neil Buhne appreciated the efforts of all provinces, government and private sectors.

He also highlighted challenges faced by urban population access to social services, plastic pollution, unemployment and crime and insecurity. Lead author of the report Babar Mumtaz said the document was about 10 largest cities of the country, including Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Peshawar, Multan, Hydrabad, Islamabad and Quetta, and their efficacy to respond to the urbanisation challenges.

"The study reveals that the selected cities make up more than half of the total urban population, accounting for 54% of the national urban population. Pakistani cities vary in terms of their size of economy, employment and tax revenues. Services and industry are the major employment sectors in Pakistan. The share of the services economy in the cities is larger than the share of services in the national economy."

According to him, Pakistan generates 95% of its total federal tax revenue from its ten major cities and Karachi contributes 55%, Islamabad 16 per cent and Lahore 15 %. The average urban per capita income in Pakistan among ten cities varies from Rs37,000 to Rs70,000. Poverty in urban areas is a major and visible phenomenon. Six out of ten major cities have double digit poverty figures including Quetta with 46%, has the highest poverty rate while Islamabad with 3% has the lowest poverty rate.

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