No major pledges for development
Dhaka City Corporation yesterday unveiled Tk 1009.41 crore budget for the fiscal year 2008-09, without committing much to development programmes for the capital.
It announced allocation for two new roads. But of those, construction of one is already underway. Its allocation for four new wholesale kitchen markets too is not new as it was in the budget for the outgoing year.
Addressing a ceremony at Mahanagar Natya Mancha, Mayor Sadeque Hossain Khoka also declared that the city corporation would construct four graveyards, a pledge that he failed to make good last year.
Though the city dwellers continue to suffer from mosquito bites, the DCC has set aside only Tk 15 crore to curb the menace. The amount was the same for the outgoing year.
The budget outlines DCC plans to implement a number of projects under government and foreign funds and private finances.
Of those, development of Airport Road (Zia Colony) has been budgeted at Tk 35 crore, four wholesale kitchen markets at Tk 31.39 crore, a road linking Airport Road and Rokeya Sarani at Tk 24.93 crore, another road from Grameen Bank at Mirpur to Eye Hospital at Tk 8.90 crore, a multi-storey ladies' hostel at Tk 4.60 crore and development of Manik Nagar area at Tk 8.03 crore.
The corporation will spend Tk 4 crore for modernisation and renovation of the rides offered by the Shishu Park and Tk 7.50 crore for development of different parks and playgrounds. Tk 1 crore and Tk 10.50 crore were allocated for these in the current year.
The amount earmarked for development and maintenance of roads, traffic infrastructure, footpaths, foot bridges and underpasses, bus/truck terminals, medians and electrification of roads stands at Tk 170.40 crore. It was Tk 163.50 crore last year.
In 2008-09, development and construction of community centres, slaughterhouses and car parks will cost the corporation Tk 39 crore.
Mayor Khoka in his speech said, “We haven't imposed any new holding tax on the citizens. Instead, we have decided to increase revenue collection.”
The DCC aims to earn Tk 527.51 crore in revenues in the upcoming fiscal year. In 2007-08, the revenue target was Tk 478.45 crore while earning was Tk 400.59 crore.
For development programmes in the coming year, the DCC will rely more on funds from government and donor agencies. Its allocation for the sector adds up to Tk 692.90 crore. In the last budget, it was Tk 1098.91 crore, but the corporation could spend only Tk 443.43 crore.
According to the budget, Tk 100 crore will come from the government block allocation, Tk 100 crore from special allocation, Tk 242.90 crore from either the government or foreign-funded projects and private investments and Tk 9 crore from other sources.
In his budget speech, the DCC mayor could not assure that there would be an end to unplanned road digging anytime soon.
He said without coordination between different utility service providers, it is not possible to give the city people a respite from sufferings caused by diggings.
Khoka called for the government to bring Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha and Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority under the city corporation.
He also suggested forming a separate organisation to deal with projects to save the rivers around the capital.
Holding tax is the single largest source of revenues for the DCC. The corporation targets to earn Tk 255 crore from it in the upcoming year. It realised Tk 176 crore in holding tax in 2007-08 while the target was Tk 230 crore.
For 2008-09, the corporation expects Tk 45 crore from its markets, Tk 36 crore from trade licence fees, Tk 2.50 crore from rickshaw licence fees, Tk 9 crore from advertisements, Tk 11.50 crore from bus/truck terminals, Tk 13 crore from cattle markets, Tk 2.50 crore from leased out toilets and ghats, Tk 44 crore from road digging fees, Tk 9 crore from equipment rents, Tk 3.50 crore from children's parks, Tk 2.50 crore from community centres, Tk 1.50 crore from graveyards and cremation grounds and Tk 56 crore from land handover.