Govt to allocate Rs10b more for Karachi Package  

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  • Infrastructure development, health, education, sports and cultural facilities given priority

Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah on Saturday held a meeting regarding development packages for Karachi at the CM House.

During the meeting, it was decided that with the exception of two projects – construction of an underpass at Submarine Chowk and a road from NED University to Safoora Goth – which will be completed in August—the 18 schemes launched under the Rs10 billion Karachi Package 2016-17 will be completed by June this year.

For early completion, the government has decided to allocate another Rs10 billion for the package in the upcoming budget for the 2017-18 fiscal year. “In the next package flyovers and underpasses will be constructed especially in those areas where citizens face severe traffic congestion. The roads will also be widened,” said a participant of the meeting.

The CM was told that most of the development work on University Road from Hassan Square to NIPA Chowrangi has been completed and the project will be finished by the first week of June.

On this, Shah said, “I have to inaugurate this road on June 10 so it must be finished by the deadline,” adding that he plans to inaugurate dozens of schemes in the city during the next financial year.

During the meeting, officials also informed the CM about the reconstruction and renovation of the Karachi Zoo and assured that the work will be completed by December but this was unacceptable for the CM. “I want you to complete the project as soon as possible,” he said.

Planning and Development Chairperson M Waseem briefed the chief minister about the scope, funding position and funding requirements of different schemes. Shah decided to hold several meetings before finalising the schemes and size of the next Annual Development Programme (ADP).

Revenue

Shah, while talking about revenue and tax collections, said that the government was working hard to improve the efficiency of revenue collecting institutions to make the province financially stable.

“Instead of imposing new taxes, my goal is to improve the collection system,” he said.

The Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) representatives told the CM that they have a collection target of Rs78 billion, which they can achieve. They had announced a tax incentive scheme that received a good response, said the SRB chairperson.

SRB Adviser Mushtaq Kazmi said they have collected Rs8.5 billion record recoveries during the current month. The CM appreciated SRB’s performance in strengthening country’s economy. He urged them to focus on compliance of SRB levies as it would help to improve recoveries.

The chief minister was also briefed by Excise and Taxation Secretary Haleem Shaikh.

The taxation secretary said that they have a target of Rs52 billion against which 90% recoveries were achieved by the end of April.

Excise and Taxation Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla informed the CM that the government incurred a loss of Rs500 million due to the closure of liquor shops for two months on the high court’s orders.

The Board of Revenue set a collection target of over Rs12 billion for the current financial year and Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon said they have collected over Rs11 billion and was hopeful that they would achieve their target by the end of the year.

It may be noted that the major collections of BOR includes Registration Fee on transfer of property, capital value tax and stamp duty.

ADP 2017-18

Shah urged that the ongoing schemes under ADP should be completed on a priority basis. Otherwise, it would be quite difficult to continue uplift works with huge throw-forward, he said.

The CM said he was giving particular attention to the development of infrastructure, completion of health, education, sports and cultural facilities.

The CM, while talking about development schemes for overcoming water shortage in the province, said that the canal lining is one of the important initiatives taken for water conservation. “Canal seepages have wreaked havoc with the agricultural lands of the province and the lining of major portions of the Rohri Canal has produced great results,” he praised.

The remaining portions of the canal would be lined next year and the lining of the Jamrao Canal would also be taken up, Shah said.

Over 780 schemes of provincial highways roads, bridges, connecting roads, water supply, drainage, hatcheries and cattle colonies will be completed in 2017-18 ADP.