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KARACHI: Administrator Karachi Barrister Murtaza Wahab on Tuesday revealed that the Karachi Port Trust (KPT) has to pay outstanding dues of Rs650 million to Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) for using infrastructure of the megacity from 2009 to 2016.

Addressing a press conference at the KMC headquarters here, the Administrator said that Karachi is a port city and both the ports use the infrastructure of Karachi and the KMC. As per KPT Act of 1886, the port shall pay money every year to the local government.

There are such laws in every port city in the world but unfortunately these laws are not being implemented here. From 2009 to 2016, around 650 millions are owed on KPT. “This is the right of Karachi and the KMC which should be given this amount” he demanded. A letter in this regard has already been sent to the port authorities, he said.

He said that monetary resources do matter, but good intentions are preconditions to run any organization in a better way. “KMC is now moving towards reforms, putting records of Estate, Land and other departments online to bringing transparency. Instead of crying out for powers and authority, I will point out that the real issue is intention. No institution can function without financial stability.”

He said that he wanted to do something for this city as per his mandate. He said that it was repeatedly told in the past that there was a lack of power but actually there was a lack of intention.

“To improve the situation, the KMC started with the Estate Department. The rent of KMC shops used to be Rs 50 million annually till a year and a half ago, which has now increased to Rs 150 million. In the first three months of the current financial year alone, more than 45 million have been received by eliminating ‘the mafia’,” he added.

The Administrator said that revenue collection from oil tankers and bus terminals has also been started while the KPT has written a letter for payment of Rs 65 Crore dues.

Barrister Wahab said that barely Rs15Omillion is collected in terms of municipal utility tax, adding the KMC will get Rs600million per month and Rs7.20billion per annum from the collection of Rs200 per user in K-Electric bills. “Any future mayor will need the money to run the city. Details of full collection and expenditure of municipal utility tax will be made public and we will not hide anything,” he said.

He said that he had three options: ask the federal government for help, ask the provincial government for help or make KMC standing on its two feet. “Hopefully, the federal government and other agencies will play a positive role in recovering the municipal utility tax on electricity bills and the courts will decide on the KMC’s point of view before giving a stay on the KMC’s revenue matters,” he said.

The Administrator said that all records related to Estate Department, Land Department, Charged Parking, Parks and Terminals have been posted on KMC’s website under the title of e-Department and citizens can see the progress there.

Barrister Wahab said that as soon as the municipal tax was announced, politics was started on it and allegations are being levelled by those who have increased the advance tax, and petrol by Rs5 without asking the people.

“We are thankful to K-Electric that it agreed but the PTI federal ministers and the governor opposed it, which is just unfortunate. We have to decide whether to run the city on charity, or independently,” he added.

The Administrator said that Karachi runs the country. He asked the Prime Minister to support the megacity. He said that Pakistan Peoples Party and Sindh government still have the same stance on census.

Speaking about uplift projects in Karachi, he said that repair and paving work on various roads of the city are being done and many parks are also being improved where recreational facilities for citizens will also be enhanced.

He said that fumigation will also be done to check spread of dengue fever.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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