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MCI members lament shortage of funds

The members of the Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) on Tuesday lamented government’s indifferent attitude towards local government system in the capital city and shortage of funds to run even the daily business.

The meeting of the MCI was held here to discuss annual budget-2017-18 for the Corporation. Opposition members, majority of them from the Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI), were particularly vocal against non-allocation of funds for the Corporation. The PTI members were of the view that the Corporation was forced to take loan of Rs6 billion from CDA to run its affairs. Azhar Mughal of PTI sought tax collection details from CDA. The members protested non-allocation of development funds from the federal government for MCI. Mayor MCI and chairman CDA Sheikh Anser Aziz told the meeting that the federal government would pay the loan back to CDA.

The PTI members were of the view that the Mayor was more interested in CDA than the MCI affairs. Raja Khurram said that the Mayor was destroying the local body institutions ‘on the pattern of bureaucracy’. Opposition leader Ali Nawaz Awan said that the Mayor being Chairman CDA was treating MCI as a step father. The PTI members also opposed discretionary funds at the disposal of minister of state for CADD as they believe that distribution of funds in that manner would lead to discrimination. Awan said that salaries of vice chairmen and councilors be immediately released.

Meanwhile, MCI approved the non-development budget amounting to Rs8.87 billion for the fiscal year 2017-18. The approved budget of MCI would be submitted to federal government for final approval. Mayor Islamabad, Sheikh Anser Aziz said that credit for establishing local body system in the federal capital goes to Prime Minister of Pakistan. He said that the main difference between the local body system in the other areas of the country and Islamabad is that for the first time local bodies system was introduced and MCI was formulated.

Mayor Islamabad further said that federal government is also being requested for issuance of development budget of MCI and after receiving the budget, development activities without discrimination in all union councils would be initiated. Out of the approved non-development budget for the fiscal year 2017-18, Rs902 millions have been allocated for pay and allowances of officers, Rs3228 million for pay and allowances of officials and Rs1688 million for daily wages employees and contract employees, Eid and Easter allowance while remaining budget has been allocated for miscellaneous expenses.

Meanwhile, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) issued a show cause notice to Safa Gold Mall for not paying the tax. The FBR explained that the Safa Gold Mall is tax defaulter for Rs49,843,076. FBR team visited the Safa Gold mall on June 17, 2017 and met every tenant for not to make any payments to Safa Gold Mall management and asked them to produce a Bank draft in the name of FBR through which they may recover the Tax defaulter Amount Rs49,843,076.

Niaz, Tahir. MCI members lament shortage of funds. The Nation, June 21, 2017.

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