City Mayor Col (retd) Mubashir Javed on Tuesday presented an interim budget of Rs7.422 billion in the Lahore Metropolitan Corporation (LMC) for the remaining two quarters of the ongoing fiscal year.
The budget session was convened by Deputy Mayor Nazir Swati.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf backed Opposition Leader Afeef Siddqui along with other members staged a protest throughout the budget speech and shouted slogans against the ruling party.
They kept thumping the desks while the convener repeatedly asked them to refrain from doing so. On the other hand, members on the treasury benches chanted slogans in favour of their leadership.
In his budget speech, the mayor announced the total volume of the budget was limited but the corporation would try to generate additional revenue through its own resources and would try to procure additional grant from the provincial government.
He disclosed the Punjab government would issue a grant of Rs19.839 million to the LMC for the remaining period of the current fiscal year.
Under the Provincial Finance Commission (PFC), the government would provide a grant of Rs941.625 million for non-development expenditures and Rs261.563 million for development expenditure for the remaining period of the current fiscal.
Budget documents show the corporation would generate Rs2.244 billion through its own resources including property taxes, property transfer tax, general bus stand fee, building fee, rental incomes and road-cut charges etc. While it would get Rs6.773 billion from the provincial government on account of different grants.
Mubashir said the corporation was also expecting an additional grant of Rs1 billion from the government for the Lahore Waste Management Company (LWMC). A sum of Rs816.345 million has been allocated for development expenditures of which Rs261.563 million would be spent on new development schemes, while Rs554.782 million would be spent on ongoing schemes and liabilities of the LMC.
He announced the corporation would spend Rs70 million for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of depilated roads and Rs80 million would be spend on construction of small streets.
A sum of Rs60 million has been allocated for street lights, Rs51.5 million has been earmarked for upgrading Raiwind and other general bus stands in the city. The mayor expressed his satisfaction that the corporation did not impose any new tax in the proposed budget and presented a surplus budget to meet the expenditure of the new metropolitan corporation.
He said the new local government system has been activated in the province from January 1 and the new public representatives were trying hard to make the system effective. He underscored the first budget of the LMC would provide a strong foundation for the local government system in the provincial capital.
He said the corporation has devised transparent and effective system of audit and accountability so public funds could be used for welfare of the masses. He urged the union council chairmen to give suggestion and explore new avenues for revenue generation in their respective jurisdictions.
The LMC budget session was scheduled for 10:00am, however, it started with a delay of over two hours and concluded just before Zuhr prayers. Convener Swati assured the LMC members from the opposition benches that the corporation would improve its communication and coordination so all the members could be informed about the upcoming session timely. The opposition had complained they were not informed beforehand about the budget session.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 1st, 2017.
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