KARACHI - Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar has said that Karachi has been completely neglected in the recently presented Sindh budget despite contributing 70 percent to the national exchequer.

“Development schemes recommended by the local council’s representatives were not included in the budget, which is a sheer insult to people’s mandate,” Wasim said. He called upon Sindh chief minister to revisit the budget and make sure implementation on the schemes forwarded by the local councils, saying he himself was an elected representative, and he should be sensitive to such matters.

Addressing a press conference here at KMC building on Wednesday, he said most of the allocations had been made for such sectors where there was no check and balance.

“Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government has presented its 9th consecutive budget and still we see bad governance everywhere,” he regretted.

Deputy Mayor Karachi Dr Arshad Vohra, Municipal Commissioner Hanif Mohammad Merchawala, parliamentary leaders of PTI, JUI and PML-N with house’s leader Aslam Shah Afridi were also present on the occasion.

Wasim further said that the Sindh government, which taunted the local councils for sustaining itself through its own resources, had badly failed to increase its own sources of income as could be seen from the balance sheet according to which out of a budget of Rs1044 billion, it was promised to collect 185 billion, which came to only 17 percent, while the government received 83 percent funds from Government of Pakistan. Referring to what he said injustices with Karachi, the mayor said the Government of Sindh collected around Rs95 billion from Karachiites.

“Likewise, Karachi will contribute over 70 percent of the total Motor Vehicle Tax (MVT) to be collected this financial year, 2017-18,” he said, and added, “It is unfortunate that the government has allocated small amounts for the port city in the budget despite collecting huge sums from its residents.”

“It may be reminded here that this is a local tax which KMC should be collecting, but the Sindh government is keeping this power with itself,” Wasim said, and added,

“Plus the total urban based receipts from Karachi should be around 50 percent of the total receipts which mean that the provincial government would collect Rs3.15 billion from Karachi.”

He further said that Infrastructure Cess was entirely collected from Karachi.

“Against these urban based receipts, the agriculture tax revised estimates show 650 million and new target for 2017-18 has been shown as Rs1000 million which shows blatant urban based tax receipts.

He said out of total 440 schemes proposed in the budget, only 122 were meant for Karachi whose population made up 40 percent of Sindh. “Hence if we go by the number of people, there should be over 200 schemes for the city,” he argued.

Similarly, he added, KMC’s share in development portfolio stood at Rs1 billion only, and no other funds had been earmarked for it.

“Karachi Mega Projects (KMP) receive Rs12 billion under PD,” the mayor said, and added, “Out of Rs12 billion earmarked for these mega projects, not a single scheme has been announced for Central Karachi, which is most populated area of the city.”

Wasim said that although KMC had forwarded 183 schemes worth Rs27 billion to the Sindh government to be completed under the ADP, not a single penny had been given to KMC, which was a sheer insult to local council representatives as almost all these schemes had been prepared after consultations with the DMC chairmen, UC chairman and all councils of Karachi.

He said in this scenario, it was quite evident that the provincial government was not interested in the development of Karachi which was in dire need of improvement in its poor infrastructure, and at least Rs100 billion were required every year for the next 10 years if the city’s infrastructure was to be rebuilt.

“I can only pray and request the higher authorities to think about Karachi, because things were getting out of control very fast,” he concluded.