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June 30, 2020

No new taxes imposed as KMC passes Rs24.84bn budget for 2020-21

Karachi

June 30, 2020

The current city council of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) passed on Monday the last annual budget of its tenure of over Rs24.84 billion for the fiscal year 2020-21. No new taxes were introduced in the budget that was approved in the council hall of the Old KMC building on MA Jinnah Road.

The budget was characteristically surplus. The city council session was chaired by Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar. Karachi Deputy Mayor Arshad Hassan and KMC Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Syed Saif ur Rehman were also present on the occasion.

The budget session was called at 2:30pm. As per the standard operating procedures devised in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, only 30 only per cent members of the treasury and opposition benches each were allowed to attend the session.

Only 118 members of the council were allowed to sit in the hall that has a seating capacity of 300. No guests were also allowed during the session and only representatives of the print and electronic media were permitted to cover it from the gallery.

As the mayor started his budget speech, opposition members stood up from their benches, tore the copies of the budget document and chanted slogans against the mayor and his party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, accusing them of corruption. The opposition members also surrounded the mayor’s chair.

According to the budget document, the current receipts for 2020-21, which the KMC is supposed to get from the Sindh government, have been estimated at Rs20.67 billion. Under the capital receipts that the municipality gets as bank borrowing, grants and receives under other heads, Rs1.66 billion are expected to be received by the KMC.

A total of Rs15.57 billion has been included in the budget under funds from the provincial Annual Development Programme (ADP) and the district ADP. For repair and maintenance, Rs200.96 million has been earmarked and for development works Rs4.38 billion.

Decreased revenue estimates

In the last year’s KMC budget, the current receipts had been estimated at Rs20.374 billion and the capital receipts at Rs1.734 billion. Funds to be received from the provincial and district ADPs had been estimated at Rs4.341 billion.

The total revenue estimation in the new budget is Rs24.84 billion, which is Rs1.64 billion less than the last year’s amount of Rs26.44 billion. The estimated revenue from land, enforcement, estate, Katchi Abadis, Orangi project and charged parking is Rs1.52 billion, which is Rs70 million less than the previous budget’s estimate.

The estimate of municipal utility charges and tax revenue is Rs1.232 billion whereas it was Rs1.152 billion in the last year. What has not been changed are K-Electric’s which amount to Rs4.409 billion as they were the last year. The dues of the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) amount to Rs550 million compared to Rs600 million the last year.

The transfer of income from the Sindh Building Control Authority has been estimated at Rs100 million with no change from the last year.

The KMC has allocated Rs3.334 billion for 700 development projects, of which Rs1.6977 billion earmarked for 494 road projects while Rs42.65 million for 10 municipal services projects.

The expenditures for the transport and communication works have been estimated at Rs380 million, for the health services Rs5.097 billion, for culture, sports and recreation projects Rs867 million, and for information technology Rs66.198 million.

The mayor said in his speech that Rs680 million was earmarked for the repair and maintenance of roundabouts, roads, footpaths and sewerage lines in all the six districts. The special development project and Nehr-e-Khayyam have been earmarked Rs120 million each and the same amount has also been fixed for different works at the union committee level.

He explained that Rs100 million had been earmarked for the purchase of ventilators and another Rs100 million allocated for purchasing different equipment for hospitals under the administrative control of the KMC.

A total of Rs100 million has been earmarked for the development of the Kidney Hill Park. Meanwhile, Rs300 million and Rs100 million have been allocated for the uplift work at the Shahabuddin Market and Parking Plaza respectively.

For the development and lighting of big arteries, Rs100 million have been earmarked. The same amount has also been allocated for different parks of the city. For the cleanliness of drains, Rs100 million has been fixed; whereas, Rs75 million has been allocated for the maintenance of flyovers, underpasses and bridges.

For each of the schemes of establishment of fire stations, uplift of landfill sites and Zulfikarabad Oil Tankers Parking Terminal's phase II, Rs75 million has been reserved. Likewise, the KMC has allocated Rs52 million for development works at zoos and the Safari Park as well as Rs50 million for purchasing different animals and birds.

Four-year tenure

Sharing the details of the last four years, the mayor said Rs5 billion was allocated for the KMC in 2016-17 but it was given only Rs4.1 billion by the Sindh government.

Similarly, Rs5 billion was earmarked for the municipality in 2017-18 but it was provided only Rs4.1 billion. During 2018-19, the KMC received only Rs2.5 billion of the allocated amount of Rs5 billion. In the outgoing fiscal year 2019-20, the corporation received only Rs625 million from the allocated Rs3.333 billion.

Due to no transfer of funds, Akhtar pointed out that 400 schemes in Karachi had been badly affected; whereas, the development work could not be started on another 300 schemes in the city. He added that the KMC also had to pay outstanding bills of Rs8.5 billion to its contractors.