Sindh Information and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani said on Tuesday that Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has delegated powers to the grassroots level through the newly passed Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Bill-2021 as compared to the previously adopted law in 2013, Aaj News reported.
While talking to media in Karachi, Saeed Ghani said people will soon be able to discern the positive results of this process of devolution.
The minister said that the opposition parties, especially the Muttahida Qaumi Movement- Pakistan (MQM-P) have been spreading false propaganda against the amended local bodies’ act, saying, "those who are blindly opposing the act have not even read it."
“Opposition parties in Sindh have resorted to protests against the newly passed Local Government Bill 2021 to prove that they had no interest in the genuine problems of the people.”
He accused MQM-P of playing the ethnic card and said that the people of Karachi, who rejected MQM in the 2018 elections, will fail their hateful agenda in the next local bodies elections.
“MQM has once again launched a vicious attempt to cause an ethnic conflict in Karachi as it clearly sees its defeat in the forthcoming local government elections,” he said, adding that the Sindh government condemns such an attempt and will not let it succeed.
Highlighting salient features of the law, Saeed Ghani said that the towns have been given financial autonomy and they will collect their own taxes under the local government act. He said that the one percent tax of immovable properties, as well as the annual property tax, will go to (local) governments.
“When local bodies will collect their own taxes, their revenue problems will be sorted,” he said.
Ghani claimed that the provincial government has accepted most of the opposition parties demands, and has placed ten departments under the local governments.
He said that the town municipal committees (TMCs) or towns were also created on the recommendation of opposition members, including MQM-P and Jamaat-i-Islami. “When towns are created, they are opposing them, which is surprising,” he added.
On Monday, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto had termed the newly-passed Local Government Act as ‘revolutionary,’ claiming that the law was better than those implemented in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“The fact is that the latest legislation passed by the provincial assembly of Sindh is an improved version of our previous local bodies act and much better than Musharraf’s law,” Bilawal said while addressing a press conference in Karachi.
“Nobody, not even a peon gives away his powers, but our government in Sindh is empowering local bodies by granting them financial autonomy,” he claimed.
Through the new Act, the financial powers, which rested with the Sindh government before the passage of this law, have now moved to the local bodies.
Criticising the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, the PPP chairman said that the federal government is planning to conduct local bodies’ elections through an ordinance.
“Those who are criticizing the Sindh Local Govt Act, have taken away the educational institutions and health facilities from the local bodies in Islamabad,” Bilawal said, adding that the PTI government had not consulted even their allies while approving the new Local Govt Act in Punjab.
Bilawal said that the Sindh government had politically empowered the local bodies through the new act.
He said that the primary health and educational institutions, as well as the local law and order institutions, will submit fortnightly reports of their performances to their respective union councils.