MazarMunicipality Income up by 40pc
MAZAR-I-SHARIF – The municipality department in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of northern Balkh province, on Tuesday announced a 40 percent increase in its revenue and acknowledged its failure to utilise its development budget during the ongoing fiscal year. Speaking at the municipality’s annual consultative and accountability gathering, Mayor Mohammad YunusMuqim said the department’s revenue stood at 300 million afghanis in 2012, reaching 400 million afs this year.
Muqim linked the boost in income to better collection of taxes on shops and factories by municipality employees. He said in the past, such taxes would not be collected in an organised manner. The mayor said the municipality’s properties were rented out against higher rents compared with last year’s charges, thus contributing to the rise in income. A major chunk of income was being spent on development and reconstruction activities in Mazar-i-Sharif.
Muqim explained 20 kilometres of roads had been blacktopped, some recreation parks built and others reconstructed, in addition to constructing footpaths in the city with funds from the municipality’s development budget. Similarly, countless saplings had been planted and garbage bins placed in every corner of the city as part of cleanliness efforts, the mayor said, admitting they had only used over 60 percent of the department’s development budget this year.
However, he said some projects were yet to be completed and that the budget spending was still comparatively higher than previous years. But residents on the city’s outskirts say they are not happy with the municipality’s performance. A DashtShor area resident, ZabihullahMuradi, accused the municipality of giving step-motherly treatment to areas north of the city.
He said all roads in other parts had been blacktopped, but only a two-kilometer road had been asphalted in their area. Muradi said: “In the city’s south, the road has been blacktopped up to the desert, despite a fewer number of people use that road. But in the north, which stretches to 10 kilometres, only two km road has been blacktopped.” (PAN)