The cash-strapped and controversy-marred civic authority unveiled on Thursday its Rs28.32 billion budget for the financial year 2012-13, with a major chunk of the budget allocated for ongoing projects and a few new projects.
The total outlay is 18% higher than the outgoing year’s budget. The authority set an unrealistic revenue target of Rs29.56 billion, nearly 23% higher than last year’s. How the civic agency will generate the revenue remains to be a million-dollar question given the outgoing worst financial performance of the city managers. The agency could not meet its revenue target partly because of the over all financial crunch in the country, worst energy crisis and slump in real estate business.
The civic agency has earmarked around 57% of the total budget for development projects, while it will spend 43% on non-development expenditures. The development budget is 13% higher than last year’s budget.
The CDA expects to generate Rs21.42 billion revenue through sale of residential and commercial plots, nearly Rs8 billion more than the previous year’s estimates. Given the lukewarm response of the real estate sector towards the CDA’s offer last year, how the authority attracts buyers this year and meets its target is yet to be seen.
The civic agency expects to collect Rs4.65 billion from property tax, water charges, toll tax, municipal receipts, interest on deposits and sanitary receipts.
The non-development expenses make up 43% of the total outlay -- Rs2.35 billion (26%) more than last year.
Justifying the increase, CDA Chairman Farkhand Iqbal, who presented the budget to the media at the Jinnah Convention Centre, attributed it to overall price-hike in addition to the raise in salaries and pensions announced by the government in the national budget. A sum of Rs5.14 billion has been earmarked for payments of salaries, allowances and pensions, including a 20% raise for CDA employees.
Iqbal said that the civic agency has neither imposed any new tax nor increased the existing ones. The CDA, he said, has signed an agreement with the Chinese government for completion of the long-delayed mega water project from Ghazi-Barotha Dam which will supply 200 million gallons to the city every day. However, there is no mention of this mega project in the budget document.
Besides, the chairman said that an affordable transport service will be introduced in the city with the support of the Chinese government for which an amount of Rs400 million has been allocated. Surprisingly, there was no mention of the CDA’s Park Enclave housing project.
The civic agency will receive Rs1.69 billion from the federal government under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and Rs1.8 billion for maintenance of government buildings including the Presidency, Prime Minister’s House, Pak Secretariat, Parliament House and lodges.
New priority projects
Out of Rs2.25 billion for priority projects Rs500 million for construction of 6,000 flats and infrastructure development in Sector I-15.
The civic agency has allocated Rs300 million for construction of the Margalla avenue from GT-Road to Sector D-12, while the construction of 11th avenue from the Kashmir Highway to Khayaban-i-Iqbal will cost another Rs300 million.
A sum of Rs175 million have been allocated for erecting pedestrian bridges and Rs300 million for underpasses in different areas.
Development under PSDP
Out of a total of Rs1.69 billion, the CDA plans to spend Rs500 million for the construction of Charah dam, while the widening of Kashmir Highway from Peshawar Mor to Golra Mor will cost Rs452.25 million.
A hefty amount of Rs512.5 million has been kept for the construction of 104 family suites in the city, while security arrangements at the Parliament House will cost another Rs63.4 million. Over Rs13 million will be spent on the repair and replacement of lifts in Pak Secretariat building. A second hanger at the heliport will also be built at a cost of Rs93 million.
According to the previous year’s audit reports, CDA missed nearly 65% of its development targets, while non-development expenditures increased by 35% during the same period.
The audit report points out that the civic agency collected Rs10.23 billion through self-finance and other receipts against an estimated revenue of Rs18.9 billion, resulting in a shortfall of Rs8.67 billion (45.86%).
Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2012.