KARACHI - Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that it was the will of the PPP government that the local bodies elections were held in Karachi, otherwise there was strong opposition for certain reasons.

He was addressing a seminar on Local Government System organised by Local Government Department at the Banquet Hall of CM House yesterday. The seminar was attended by all the chairman and vice chairman of local councils, deputy mayor Karachi and other concerned.

The chief minister said that there was strong opposition to hold local bodies election in the city. No doubt the law and order situation was precarious at that time, certain socio-political issues had emerged, he said adding that “It was political commitment and will of PPP government in Sindh that the local bodies elections became possible in Karachi.”

Syed Murad Ali Shah added that the present Local Government Act 2013 has been passed by Sindh Assembly, and there is public will and wisdom into it, that’s why everyone gives it ownership, otherwise all the previous local government laws were imposed by the dictators with the objectives to strengthen their position by eroding the authority and writ of the provincial government.

He said that he was taking necessary steps to strengthen local bodies so that public could be solved at gross root level. The local government department mandate is to provide support to the local councils in the areas of administration, finance and human resource management, he added.

He said added the process of relocation of staff, distribution of assets and liabilities, distribution of OZT share and posting of staff in the newly created local councils at the completion stage,” he said.

It may be noted that there are 1744 local councils in the province, of them 1199 are in the rural areas and rest in the urban areas. There are one metropolitan corporation, nine municipal corporations, 37 municipal committees, 147 town committees, 351 union committees in the urban area and 24 district council and 1175 union councils.

The chief minister clarified that the local councils have to work under the overall supervision of Sindh government as per legal framework provided in the Act of 2013. He added that without financial viability, the local councils could deliver the desired results, therefore they would have to take initiatives for the generation of resources and create efficient system of checks and balances internally.

He announced that the provincial finance commission (PFC) has been constituted and notified by the government. “The PFC is a recommendatory body and have the mandate to make recommendations to the government for distribution of funds and other matters relating to finances of the local councils,” he said.

Talking about finances of the local councils, chief minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that in the budget 2016-17 the Octroi and Zila Tax (OZT) share has been enhanced from Rs47 billion to Rs60 billion. “More than Rs37.731 billion have been provided in ADP of local government,” he said adding that more grants have also been provided for settlement of electricity dues and pension liabilities of local government.

Concluding his speech, Syed Murad Ali Shah vowed to provide extra funds for construction of new buildings, repair and renovation of existing building and vehicles for chairman and vice chairman upto town committee level.

SINDH GOVT, HBL TO

WORK FOR UPLIFT

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that Karachi in terms of trade, commerce, industry and population is most important city of the country, therefore he has given special attention to the development of its infrastructure to meet its future requirements but “all this would be possible if the financial institutions come over to extend helping hand to the Sindh government.”

This he said while talking to a delegation of HBL led by its chairman Sultan Allana, President Nauman Dar and Corporate Banking Head Amir Arshad. Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi and Special secretary to CM Raheem Shaikh were also present in the meeting.

The chief minister said that he has a plan to construct Malir Expressway. If Northern Bypass, Link Road, Malir Expressway are connected that would serve as Ring Road for heavy and industrial and light traffic.

He said that the Sindh government was keen to start this project and many others under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. “You are a well reputed and financially stable institution and I would be happy if you come over have partnership with Sindh government,” he asked chairman HBL. Sultan Allana said that he would be glad to contribute in the development of the city. “We are ready to work with you and we worked with the Punjab government,” he said.

The chief minister and chairman HBL constituted a committee comprising on the senior officers of HBL and Sindh government to work out plan to work together. Allana assured the chief minister that he would support Sindh government for the development of infrastructure and other projects.