The “statement of objects and reason” of the recently approved “Draft CDA (Amendment) Bill, 2011” suggests that the sole purpose of the legislation is to counter the Supreme Court’s ruling against Public Private Partnerships.
City managers agreed that the statement of objects and reasons (SOR) for the proposed amendment of the Capital Development Authority Ordinance 1960 is “to enable it to seek private sector participation in infrastructure development projects”.
CDA chairperson said the amendment is meant to help the agency meet emerging challenges rather than to counter any court decision; however the SOR reads, “Recent rulings of the Supreme Court of Pakistan have highlighted that CDA Ordinance 1960 does not empower the authority to engage private parties in order to undertake planning and development functions.”
“The CDA has not developed a single sector in the last 23 years, but in the SOR, the CDA held the Supreme Court responsible for thwarting the required urban development,” a senior CDA official told The Express Tribune.
He said the recent CDA Board meeting discussed the Supreme Court’s judgement against CDA’s partnership with Multi Professional Cooperative Housing Society (MPCHS) to develop the E-11 Northern Strip. The apex court, under the old CDA Ordinance, prohibited the agency from entering joint ventures and partnerships with private sector entities to plan and develop infrastructure schemes of the capital city. The apex court termed the deal “illegal and shameful”.
“These constraints (Supreme Court decision), together with CDA’s inability to partner with the private sector to undertake infrastructure projects and municipal development in Islamabad, is thwarting the required urban development schemes in the ICT,” read the statement of the bill.
The bill added that the CDA is mandated to make arrangements for the planning and development of the capital city and CDA Ordinance 1960 section 11 and 12, the same sections cited by the Supreme Court in its judgment, vests in the CDA an exclusive mandate to prepare the master-plan and master-programme for the development of the capital.
“Under section 12, the CDA may require a local body or agency to prepare schemes pursuant to the master plan and the master programme in consultation with CDA,” it reads, adding, “The CDA does not have the financial resources to undertake the development of new sectors and already owes huge amounts in respect to the land acquired by the CDA.”
The value of land in developed sectors continues to escalate, leading to speculation, manipulation and inflation of prices by real estate agents and speculative investors, which cause great hardships for genuine purchasers, according to the statement.
“The involvement of the private sector through public-private partnerships promises other advantages…increased efficiency in project delivery and operation, mobilisation of the resources of the private sector to meet the increasing needs of investment in infrastructure projects and services, access to specialised human resource and technology, and sustainable development of infrastructure without exclusively burdening the government with attendant risks,” is also mentioned in the statement.
Another CDA official said that legislation on penalties against encroachers was dropped by CDA from the new proposed bill. Two separate bills have already been submitted on the issue in the lower house of the parliament. He said it was argued in the CDA Board meeting that encroachment could only be dealt with by enhancing the enforcement directorate’s powers.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2011.