Sindh Finance department, on the instruction of Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, has released Rs 32.4 billion for the completion of on-going development schemes in the province. It has already released Rs 6007.609 million to local bodies against monthly OZT share and grant-in-aid. The CM said that Sindh is the only province in the country that has released its budget in the first week of the new financial year, 2021-22. He stated this in a statement issued here from CM House on Monday. Shah said the Octroi Zila Tax (OZT) was abolished in the year 1999, and in lieu of abolished zilla tax, the federal government released funds through regular fiscal transfers at 2.5 percent of OZT. “The share is low as compared to the municipal responsibilities of local councils,” he said and added, “upon abolishing of OZT by the federal government and low receipts being received by Sindh Province in lieu of OZT, Sindh government is continuously supporting all local councils in the province”. The CM said that keeping in view its commitment to keep the Councils financially viable, the Sindh government has been releasing monthly OZT share to all local councils in the province according to the PFC award held in 2007. Subsequently, he said, as per tentative distribution approved by the government since 2016, which was, then, further enhanced at a rate of 15 percent during the financial year 2017-18. According to the Chief Minister, the administrative structure of local councils in Sindh consists of seven District Municipal Corporations, twenty-four District Councils, one Metropolitan Corporation, three Municipal Corporations – Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana, 39 Municipal Committees, 147 Town Committees, and 1526 Union Councils / Union Committees. He said the Sindh government, despite low receipts from the federal government, was consistently releasing sufficient funds to all local councils in order to cater their financial and operational needs against budgetary allocation of Rs.78 billion for the financial year 2020-21. “The government has further enhanced the share by 15 percent for the financial year 2021-22 and accordingly earmarked Rs.82 billion for the current financial year 2021-22 for the salaries/pension of employees of local councils with effect from July 2021. Murad Ali Shah said that the Karachi Division was particularly under the focus of the Sindh government. He added that the Karachi Division has nine major councils and 247 UCs; they include KMC, Karachi District6 Council, seven DMCs and 247 union councils/committees. The CM said with the revised OZT share as of July 2021, KMC share has been increased by Rs 1,178.280 million annually, the share of seven DMCs of Karachi has been increased to Rs 13,015.836 million from Rs 12,135.73 million annually, and District Council Karachi has been increased to Rs 1,655.592 million from Rs 1603.056 million. “Thus, total OZT share of Karachi Division has been enhanced from Rs 25,457.08 million to Rs 27,568.00 million per annum other than Rs 1,482.00 million per annum to the Union Councils / Union Committee of Karachi Division,” he said. Murad Ali Shah said that in the first week of July 2021 Sindh local government board has been released Rs 65 million as monthly share, DMCs, MCs Rs 3058.026 million, SSWMB Rs 69.066 million, regular grants to District Councils Rs 541.636 million, KMC Rs 1,071.381 million, including Rs 208.219 million OZT, Rs 263.162 million for pensions and Rs 600 million Grant-in-Aid, union councils/committees Rs 763 million, KDA Rs 204 million and DMC/MC/TC Rs 235.5 million. Mr Shah said that 83 percent of the Property Tax collected by the Sindh government was also transferred to the concerned local councils. “The property tax of Karachi during 2020-21 was Rs 1,603.729 million, 83 percent of which – Rs 1,331 million was also transferred to the Local Councils of the city,” he added.