MCI to blame itself over non-allocation of funds for uplift projects

No funds for Islamabad’s Metropolitan Corporation in Budget 2017-18

Zubair Qureshi

In the Federal budget 2017-18, no funds were allocated for the civic and urban projects of the Federal Capital and the nascent Metropolitan Corporation of Islamabad (MCI) will have to rely on Capital Development Authority (CDA) for its expenditures—development, administrative and others. However, MCI is to blame itself for this non-allocation of funds by the federal government. It was back in January 2016, when the MCI had proposed the non-development budget of Rs 12 billion through Interior Ministry to Ministry of Finance for the fiscal year 2017-18. However, MCI failed to finalize proposals of development budget as only 50 per cent union councils have submitted their proposals.
The MCI despite the passage of 17 months has so far not received a single penny for the development projects from the federal government. Even the salaries of the staff of MCI are being paid through the loan it received from CDA.
Last year too, the MCI could not seek proposals for the development projects from the respective union councils mainly due to delay in the notification of the formation of MCI.
According to the sources in the MCI, Mayor-cum-CDA Chairman Sheikh Anser Aziz was also responsible for the consecutive second non-allocation of the funds for the MCI as he is acquiring the dual charge of the MCI and the CDA and has little time to remind the UCs to finalize their proposals to be incorporated in the final draft sheet.
In April, the UC chairmen were directed to submit their proposals within two weeks but to no avail. The finance wing had also warned MCI in April, 17 that in continuation of various requests made from to time for the submission of proposals, nothing was received from the formations of the MCI. As a result of the lackluster approach of the MCI, the federal government gave a snub to the city’s civic body by excluding it from its FY 2017-2018 budget plan.
It means there will be no development projects in the federal capital and no money was set aside to pay for the daily expense of looking after the two million people living in the federal capital.
No provisions were made in the federal budget for the MCI because budget rules for the corporation have not yet been notified by the interior ministry. According to the officials of the MCI, it is unlikely the federal government will give the MCI a special grant in the budget and that there is no mention of the local government in the public sector development programme 2017-18. Of Islamabad’s 50 union councils, 18 fall in urban areas and 32 in rural areas. CDA carried out some development projects in the urban areas but there has been no development activity in rural areas.

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