Sindh Chief Secretary Dr. Muhammad Sohail Rajput during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) informed the business community that, Sindh government has approved Rs. 2.5 billion to restore the city’s damaged infrastructure after the Monsoon rains out of which Rs. 1.5 billion are for road maintenance on the route of People’s Bus Services and rehabilitation of various other roads.
He agreed to hold regular meetings with the nominated representatives of the KCCI to take their input to resolve the upfront issues and develop the required infrastructure in Karachi.
He said that Korangi Causeway project will be completed by June 2024 at a cost of Rs 5 billion. An IT Park will be built in Karachi under Public Private Partnership to tap the export potential in the IT sector. He asked business community of Karachi to participate in the development projects under Public-private partnership.
In response to the suggestion of Chairman BMG Zubair Motiwala, he assured to consider having Citizen Oversight in the upcoming Karachi projects and put it up in the upcoming meeting of Sindh Cabinet meeting to discuss the possibilities.
He further said that local body elections will be held on time and all other issues highlighted by KCCI will be resolved on priority basis including the pending salaries’ disbursement of fire brigade employees.
Chairman BMG and Former President KCCI Zubair Motiwala stressed on the need to properly utilize Infrastructure Cess on the development of infrastructure of Karachi and install Combined Effluent Treatment Plant at the allocated sites to treat the industrial waste. He also proposed to treat the domestic effluent which is around 52 MGD and reuse the treated water for industrial consumption citing the example of frequent water supply disruptions at SITE industrial area.
He further highlighted that both SRB and FBR are charging taxes on electricity bills which is double taxation and unjust. He stressed that tax should either be charged by the provincial or the Federal government.
He demanded that the under Article 158, 110mmcfd gas discovered in Ghotki Sindh should be allocated to Sindh after treating it to make it suitable for consumption. 20 mmcfd of this gas was allocated to Mari Gas to supply through SNGP system where industries in Sindh continued to face intense gas shortages. He stressed that all the provinces should have their own provincial gas transmission companies instead of relying on SSGC and SNGP only.
He emphasized on making a policy to effectively utilize the renewable energy corridor in Sindh for wind and solar power generation. Regarding restoration of debilitated road infrastructure of Karachi after rains, he opined to install pavers instead of asphalt carpeting on the road at vulnerable sites above water and sewerage lines as they are long lasting and allows easier repair.
Vice Chairman BMG and Former SVP KCCI Jawed Bilwani stressed on putting in place proper checks and balances to improve the quality controls of the infrastructure development projects. He also said that SBCA should make it a compulsory requirement to install the mechanism of rainwater harvesting in all new buildings to conserve water.
General Secretary BMG and Former President A Q Khalil requested the Chief Secretary to hold quarterly meetings of designated Additional Secretaries with the representatives of seven industrial town associations to discuss ways to resolve issues pertaining to water, sewerage, electricity and other infrastructure development.
President KCCI Muhammad Idrees urged the government to abolish infrastructure cess at Karachi sea port and airport to remove the disparity vis-à-vis other ports of the country. He stressed on proper utilization of the Rs. 1,100 billion Karachi package to develop the worn out infrastructure and take KCCI on board for joint efforts leading to better results. He stated that Census of Karachi should be done accurately again to ensure equitable distribution of resources for the deprived city.
New industrial zone is being set up at Hawks Bay but the business community lacks awareness for which he asked to be taken on board to jointly develop and attract investment in the zone. He also asked to develop projects including desalination plants, supply channels for KIV project, Power generation from solid waste among others.
KCCI offered its assistance to Sindh Government to improve the infrastructure of the city.