Saturday June 22, 2024

Wahab terms agitation over municipal tax collection through KE bills conspiracy against Karachi

By Our Correspondent
October 02, 2022

Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) Administrator Barrister Murtaza Wahab on Saturday termed the criticism and agitation against inclusion of municipal taxes in the power bills a conspiracy and negative propaganda.

Addressing a press conference at the Frere Hall, Wahab, who also serves as the spokesperson for the Sindh government and adviser to the chief minister on law, said his opponents had criticised him claiming that he had imposed a new tax but in fact it was an old tax.

“Money is needed to improve the infrastructure of the city,” he said, adding that his critics could oppose him but they should refrain from opposing the city’s development.

Wahab also commented on his resignation from the post of the KMC administrator that he recently submitted following an order of the Singh High Court that barred the K-Electric from collecting municipal charges through its power bills. “My resignation was not accepted and I am bound by the orders of the party. I will continue to do whatever service I can for Karachi without personal publicity. I am grateful to 600,000 customers who submitted the municipal tax despite all the conspiracies,” he said.

KMC Municipal Commissioner Syed Afzal Zaidi and other officers were also present on the occasion.

The KMC administrator said the high court had temporarily halted the collection of municipal taxes through the power bills and this was an interim order.

Condemning the terrorist incident in the Korangi fire station, he said that those who committed the heinous act should be dealt with under the law. He added that two brave officials of the KMC fire brigade were martyred in the terrorist incident and one was seriously injured who was currently admitted to an intensive care unit.

Wahab said the police had been tasked with investigating the incident. He added that the road maintenance work was going on in all the seven districts of Karachi and people were witnessing the KMC working but the enemies of Karachi did not want the condition of the city to improve.

"Today, Karachi is moving forward under a comprehensive plan. In the past, there were errors in the system of collection of municipal utility tax,” he said, adding that he could either let the same system continue under which the KMC was not getting enough funds or try to collect Rs3 billion for the municipality annually through the K-Electric.

He maintained that he gave relief to the citizens by reducing the tax and decided to introduce a foolproof mechanism of municipal tax collection through the power utility. He said that under the new system, Rs50 million was collected in just 10 days.

“The man who filed a case against the KMC has not deposited this tax himself for five years. I want to tell people that bad intentions and defaulters do not want the city to be developed,” Wahab said.

He added that if the institutions were to be made strong and active, the affairs must be run according to the law. He clarified that he had no personal differences with Hafiz Naeemur Rahman, and if the Jamaat-e-Islami leader became the mayor, he would also have money to spend on the city.

"In my view, the answer to the propaganda of the opponents is work and only work," Wahab said.

In response to a question, the KMC administrator said that a decision had been taken to conduct the local bodies elections in Sindh in phases, but there were administrative difficulties due to rains and floods. He said that a decision regarding holding the next phase of local bodies elections would be taken soon.