Karachi Administrator Murtaza Wahab confessed Friday that the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) didn’t earn enough to manage the affairs of the city.
He said the KMC earned Rs10.7 million annually, which wasn’t enough to run Pakistan’s biggest metropolis, with more than 16 million people.
“The municipal tax collection was Rs1.7 million in 1918. The population of the city at that time was about 200,000 people. In 2021, over 16 million people live here but the tax collection here is just Rs10.7 million.”
“We need to pep up our tax collection system,” Wahab said. “We cannot rely on borrowing from the provincial government anymore,” he added.
“This is our city. We have to own it. This is our children’s city.”
Metropolitan Commissioner Afzal Zaidi said water shortage was a severe issue in Karachi. He said sewerage and transport were also significant issues that the citizens had faced for decades.
“Karachi cannot be managed without money. And sadly, we do not have enough money to return the city to its glory.”
He said the KMC had its own resource generating mechanism, including 61 commercial markets, 11 petrol pumps, and 245 huts. “The sad thing is that they do not produce enough revenue. For example, we manage to get Rs61,000 annually from the huts, which is certainly not enough.”
Wahab said that the city’s 20 major thoroughfares were commercialised in 2003. He added that giant buildings had taken over small houses. “This has led to significant civic problems,” he revealed.
The administrator said the idea of collecting tax via K-Electric, the power supplying company, had been initiated. He said the aim was to muster Rs200 from the masses.
Wahab said water desalination plants were mandatory for the city. He stressed that the locations where plants could be set up had been identified.