ISLAMABAD            -        World Bank (WB) on Monday said that it is working with the government of Sindh in finalising a project, SWEEP aimed to mitigate the impacts of flooding and COVID-19 emergencies, and to improve solid waste management services in Karachi.

In view of emergency situation and ongoing floods in Karachi, Sindh government will finance and implement activities through its funds. Sindh government may request to reimburse expenditures from nullah cleaning activities after approval of SWEEP, provided they are compliant with applicable WB policies, said Najy Benhassine World Bank Country Director for Pakistan on twitter on Monday. 

In last week, Najy Benhassine stated that the World Bank estimates that Karachi needs around $9 to $10 billion of financing over a 10-year period to meet its infrastructure and service delivery needs in urban transport/ drainage, water supply and sanitation and municipal solid waste.

Earlier, the World Bank in its report, “Transforming Karachi into a Livable and Competitive Megacity: A City Diagnostic and Transformation Strategy” had stated that Karachi needs around US$9 to 10 billion of financing over a 10-year period to meet its requirements. However, current infrastructure spending by the public sector is well below these requirements, despite large recent increases. The availability of public financing for Karachi’s needs is limited, which substantially increases its opportunity cost. 

Collections of the urban immovable property tax from Karachi (and Sindh) remain dismal compared to the potential. Global experience shows that the urban property tax is an important source of financing for cities. Punjab province collects four times as much in this tax as Sindh every year. In comparison, a single metropolitan city in neighboring India collects many times more in annual property taxes than Sindh. Increasing revenue from this tax is essential to finance the infrastructure needs in Karachi.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had recently unveiled a “historic” financial package worth Rs1.1 trillion for Karachi’s transformation that he said will address the chronic municipal and infrastructure issues of the country’s financial hub. The federal and provincial governments were both contributing to the Rs1,100 billion package.