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KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, in order to boost recoveries of Karachi Metropolitan, has directed Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) to explore ways and means to collect local taxes on behalf of the KMC so that it could be made financially viable.

He took this decision while presiding over a meeting to resolve pension issues of local bodies such as KMC, DMCs, HAD, KDA and other local committees here at CM House on Thursday. The meeting was attended by Minister Agriculture Ismail Rahu, Minister Local Government Nasir Shah, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Finance Hassan Naqvi, Secretary Agriculture Rahim Soomro and Municipal Commissioner KMC.

The chief minister was told that KMC has 12,900 employees and their salary bill was over Rs560 million and pension bill Rs330 million but the recoveries were very low compared to expenditures.

Minister Local Government Nasir Shah said that the KMC was paying pension to its retired employees on a regular basis but payment of gratuity has become an issue, therefore the retired employees were facing problems.

The chief minister said that it was an injustice with the retired employees, therefore the local government, in consultation with the finance department, should resolve the issue and report him on short term. As far as long term is concerned, Shah said that KMC must improve its recovery issues. “The finance department would provide necessary funds, if there is any shortfall in payment of outstanding gratuity,” he said.

Murad Ali shah directed SRB to explore ways and means to start collection of KMC’s local taxes so that their revenue could be increased. He directed secretary Local government to hold a meeting with SRB and explore possibilities to hand them over the KMC recoveries. “I want the KMC to be a self-sufficient organisation by improving the performance of its revenue generating organisation,” he said.

The CM said that the provincial government was giving Rs161.035 million as Octroi and Zila Tax, Rs430 million regular grant-in-aid and Rs215.489 million pension contribution and Rs806.524 million on monthly basis to the KMC. “We are fully supporting the metropolitan corporation, but it has to be a better organisation by rationalising its expenditures and improving its performance,” he said.

Murad Ali Shah directed KMC to digitise its property data by doing geo-mapping and regularising its unregistered market and shops. He added that the KMC should conduct a survey for enhancing its rental rates as per present market value.

Shah said that the KMC has its petrol pumps and it should auction them preferably to oil companies instead of giving them to the individual. “You have a lot of open plots at most valuable locations where the KMC can establish new filling stations, malls on PPP mode,” he suggested.

Minister Local Government Syed Nasir Shah said that the instruction of the chief minister would be implemented in true letter and spirit.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021