The Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) is contemplating a substantial hike in property and sanitation charges, with a committee presently fine-tuning the proposed revised rates for implementation in the upcoming fiscal year. The move aims to address the financial gap between revenue receipts and the operation and maintenance costs of services provided by the MCI.
Since February 2021, with the absence of a local government administration in the federal capital, the affairs of the MCI have been overseen by the administrator and its chief officer.
Massive Price Hike in Property and Sanitation Charges
Sources familiar with the matter have disclosed that officials are suggesting a significant increase in property taxes, water and conservancy charges, and solid waste management fees within the Islamabad limits. The objective is to bridge the financial divide and ensure sustainability in the provision of services by the MCI.
In a recent meeting, the proposed tax adjustments were discussed, and it was revealed that public feedback will be sought on the proposed increases. A public consultation is scheduled for November 27 and 28, following which the final decision on the new rates will be made. If approved, the revised rates will come into effect from July 1, 2024.
Read more: A Drop in Construction Prices in Pakistan
The proposed changes in water charges are noteworthy. For 1000 gallons per month, the existing rate is Rs16, while the new rate being suggested is Rs48. Additionally, occupants of government-owned houses in various categories will face varying increases in water charges, with rates for different categories set to rise significantly. The proposal also includes an increase in new water connection prices for commercial consumers, linked to the diameter of the supply line.
Property tax adjustments have been proposed based on lump sum amounts for different series and sectors. For instance, owners of houses up to 140 sq yards in D-series would pay a lump sum of Rs31,500 per annum instead of Rs6 per square foot covered area.
The proposal extends to various sectors and areas, specifying lump sum rates for different plot sizes and areas. Notably, there is also a provision for an increase in property taxes for farmhouses, with a suggested lump sum amounting to Rs209,000 for a farmhouse up to 16 kanals.
While the Chief Officer of MCI, Rana Waqas Anwar, could not be reached for comments, a committee member confirmed that tax revisions were under consideration. Emphasizing that these are proposals and not final decisions, the committee member stated, “We discussed the proposal just a few days ago, and we will also get feedback from the public before the final notification.” The committee is set to convene for another meeting this week before inviting objections and feedback from the public.