Sindh govt, WB agree to devolve property tax to DMCs



KARACHI: Sindh government in collaboration with World Bank (WB) has decided to devolve property tax collection to the local bodies and DMCs, for which a proper database and capacity building of concerned local bodies’ staff would be undertaken shortly.

This decision was taken by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in a meeting he held with a World Bank team led by Senior Economist Yoonhee Kim, Urban Development Specialist Shoaib Athar, Public Sector Specialist Irum Touqeer, Urban Development Specialist Takaaki Masaki and others.

The Sindh government delegation led by the chief minister comprised of Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro, Karachi Mayor Waseem Akhtar, Principal Secretary to CM Sohail Rajput, Excise Secretary Haleem Shaikh, DMCs chairmen and others.

The chief minister in his opening remarks said that he had already devolved the property tax to local bodies in Karachi KMC but they have to develop a system for collection. He added that property survey of Sukkur has been conducted.

It is interesting to note that earlier, there were only 35,000 households registered for the collection of property tax but the fresh survey has revealed an amazing figure of 65,000 houses fit for levy of property tax.

The World Bank team through a presentation said that the current collection of property tax in Sindh is Rs2 billion while there was a potential of Rs7.2 billion. Citing the examples of Punjab, they said that they collected $88 million during 2015-16, Chennai collected $90 million, Indian Hyderabad collected $179 million, Bangalore $201 million and Mumbai $373 million. “These figures are enough to assess how much Karachi in terms of its size and household can collect property tax,” they said.

The WB also suggested devolution of Urban Immovable Property Tax (UIPT) to local bodies.

On this, the chief minister said that the local councils of Karachi – DMCs – do not yet have the capacity to administer UIPT collection functions, in the absence of staff trained in property tax law and procedures, and there is a lack of IT capabilities. He added that he had already issued a directive to the local bodies to develop an efficient system.

It was also decided to undertake a full survey of all buildings in the six DMCs of the city, collect qualitative and quantitative data for each building, including property use, to collect the GPS co-ordinates for each building including digital image and to build upon the experiences from Sukkur and with participation from ETD and DMCs

It was also decided to establish an IT Revenue Management System (IRMS) for DMCs.