KARACHI: The Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) unveiled on Tuesday a predictably surplus budget for the fiscal year 2018-19, amid protests from the opposition at the Old KMC building on MA Jinnah Road.
Unveiling the budget with an outlay of Rs27,170.97 million, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar told the council that they had managed to save Rs9.63m in the current fiscal year. He added that more funds were earmarked for development projects in the new budget.
“No new tax has been imposed,” Akhtar announced, adding that 194 schemes would be completed at a cost of Rs5,629m. The KMC’s focus, according to Akhtar, was to improve the existing sources of revenue and make the budget realistic and balanced. He added that despite severe financial constraints, they had managed to present a Rs1.15b development budget which included several schemes suggested by elected representatives of the council.
Speaking about development works carried out in the current fiscal year, Akhtar said that 206 schemes were completed at a cost of Rs4,327.1m. “We plan to bring 194 new schemes next year, bearing a price tag of Rs5,629m to raise the development portfolio,” he promised. “In order to make the required resources available, we raised the issue of negligence by the previous governments and senior leaders of the country. As a result of our efforts, Karachi got the Rs25b Prime Minister’s Package under which many development schemes will be executed next year.”
These schemes include renovation of Manghopir Road from Jam Chakro to Banaras, construction of a flyover alongside Shershah Suri Road, Sakhi Hassan, Five Star Roundabout and KDA Chowrangi and renovation of Nishter Road from Teen Hatti to Napier Road, besides the rehabilitation and improvement of KMC’s current firefighting system. Akhtar also assured the council that he would write to the local government department to make a case for an increase in funds allocated to Union Councils.
For the next fiscal year, the KMC has earmarked the lion’s share for medical and health services at Rs4,168.69m, while Rs3,192.18m have been allocated for the municipal department and Rs966.352m for parks and horticulture department.
The revenue department will receive Rs969.28m, while the culture, sports and recreation department (CSR) has been allocated Rs749.26m. The transport and communication department will get Rs430.47m.
In his briefing, the mayor shed light on major development schemes completed in the current fiscal year. “Several roads in different areas of Gulberg have been constructed,” he said, adding that the road from Jail chowrangi to Hassan Square had also been completed.
Akhtar also promised to construct at least two graveyards in each district, besides a model graveyard in Surjani Town. “We are also working to build new fire stations,” he said.
The mayor demanded the Sindh government to hand over control of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to the KMC.
The opposition members of the council were, however, not too pleased with the mayor’s claims. They tore copies of the budget documents, shouting slogans of “The mayor is a thief.” Jamaat-e-Islami’s Junaid Mukati claimed that the funds allocated in the previous budget were never spent on the city. “The funds in the new budget will also land in corrupt hands,” he added.
Meanwhile, the elected representatives of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) engaged in sloganeering of their own, calling the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, a thief.