ISLAMABAD: With the federal government earmarking Rs9.264 billion for estimated expenditures in the federal capital for the fiscal year 2019-20, the top civic body in the city has prepared a surplus budget with a total outlay of Rs24.038 billion.
However, until the federal government or the Islamabad Metropolitan Corporation (IMC) makes allocations, it has held back Rs3 billion under the heads of “Pay and Allowances” and “Utility Charges” for the staff of the local government body.
According to provisional budget documents, the Capital Development Authority (CDA) has presented a budget with an outlay of Rs24.038 billion. However, it has shown receipts of Rs25.785 billion, presenting a cumulative surplus of Rs1.747 billion.
This is down from the Rs40.539 billion budgetary outlay for the authority in the ongoing fiscal year or the Rs37.9 billion earmarked for the fiscal year 2017-18.
This despite the fact that the bill of receipts for the fiscal year 2019-20 is 9.42% higher at Rs25.785 billion, from the Rs23.566 billion in the ongoing fiscal year.
This money was raised in part by the two rounds of plot auctions the authority held which raised a cumulative of Rs18.76 billion.
The civic authority has kept Rs10.873 billion for various development activities for the capital. This, however, is less than half of the entire outlay and a marked decrease from the Rs21.743 billion earmarked in the outgoing fiscal year.
The budgetary provisions have allocated funds for the development of different sectors of the city for which the project concept-I (PC-I) has been approved. Curiously, while approving the budget last year, the authority had said that they had focused on land acquisition and prioritising sectors where development work has been pending for many years.
The CDA has also included budgetary allocations for other development works such as the construction of the underpass on Faisal Avenue between Sector F-7 and Sector F-8 and Sector G-7 and Sector G-8, the Burma Bridge and the additional block at the Capital Hospital.
The CDA expects to receive Rs797.19 million from the federal government for various Public Sector Development Projects (PSDP) in the city, including the construction of the signal-free Islamabad Expressway.
In the federal budget, the government had allocated Rs425 million for the construction and expansion of the signal-free Islamabad Expressway from Koral to Rawat.
Allocations for these projects were made based on the PC-I and PC-II approved in the last two meetings of the CDA’s Development Working Party (CDA-DWP).
In this context, contracts for G-7/G-8 and Park Enclave have already been floated.
In line with the austerity policies of the federal government to substantially curtail non-development expenditure, the CDA claimed that it had not proposed an increase in the non-development expenditure during 2019-20.
However, budget documents showed that a sum of Rs13.165 billion has been allocated for non-development expenditures.
By contrast, the CDA had allocated Rs10.21 billion for non-development expenditures in the fiscal year 2018-19.
It afforded the opportunity that the remaining Rs2.955 billion were for the IMC.
The authority claimed that an increase in “Pay and Allowances” and “Utility Charges” will be met from within the proposed budget by enforcing strict austerity and economy measures.
The budget will be submitted to the federal government after approval from the CDA board, the apex decision-making body of the authority.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 15th, 2019.
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