The Dhaka South City Corporation's (DSCC) revenue for the fiscal year 2016-17 has hit a record low. In the 11 months between July and May, the corporation has managed to earn one-fourth of its expected revenue, making it difficult to even pay the salaries of its employees and everyday expenses and leaving little to be spent on development.
The employees of the corporation have pointed to the corruption of their colleagues and lack of proper planning for the failure in reaching revenue targets. Chief Revenue Officer M Yusuf Ali told the Bangla Tribune: “We have arrested the employees who have been accused of corruption. A few have also been punished with official transfers. The mayor has a zero tolerance policy in this regard.”
According to a copy of the DSCC budget received by the Bangla Tribune, the corporation had passed a budget of Tk3,183 crore with a revenue stream of Tk1,616.83 crore. Within the first 11 months of the fiscal year 2016-17, the total revenue earned was Tk432.71 crore, which was 26.76% of the estimated amount. Of the 42 planned revenue sources, seven had failed to provide any revenue at all.
The corporation's total yearly salary, employee transportation expenses, everyday office expenses and rent added up to Tk300 crore. Because of the low revenue turnover, public service development was compromised at the expense of employees' salaries.
On condition of anonymity, a senior official told the Bangla Tribune: “The DSCC's revenues are not at all close to what was expected. Because of the ongoing court case, all sources of revenue have stopped. I cannot even pay out the bills for the works my department commissions. I do not know how I will pay my employees' salaries in the future. It is impossible to pay out salaries with these revenue earnings, how will we even improve public services like this?”
According to the budget, revenue from the city corporation's markets was estimated at Tk650 crore. Up till May, total revenue from this source was Tk71.80 crore, which was 11% of the estimated earnings. Revenue from holding tax was estimated at Tk500 crore, of which Tk153.70 had been realised.
Trade license fees were at a similar standstill. Of the expected Tk65 crore in earnings, only Tk58.68 crore had been brought in. Nagar Bhaban, Chinnamul Shishu Proshikkhon Kendra and Nattamanch were expected to provide Tk5.54 crore, but have only brought in Tk1.67 crore. Road excavation fees were estimated at Tk28 crore, but have earned Tk12.40 crore. Of the expected Tk65 crore from property transfer taxes, Tk41.48 crore had been realised.
Special allocations from the government were expected at Tk200 crore, and grants at Tk18 crore, Tk2 crore from the undivided Dhaka City Corporation, Tk3 crore from interests on assets, Tk30 lakhs from the Mohammad Hanif Flyover and Tk3.60 crore from rickshaw license fees. However, all of these sources have failed to bring in any revenue throughout the year.
Of the DSCC's 42 revenue sources, in the first 11 months of the year, Tk22.31 crore of the expected Tk30 crore from market rent, Tk46.39 lakh of the Tk1 crore of land rent, Tk1.32 crore of the Tk1.98 crore from municipal filling stations, Tk33.03 lakh of the Tk45 lakh from entertainment taxes, Tk1.5 crore of the Tk3.15 crore from advertisements and Tk2.49 crore of the Tk5.60 crore from bus terminals were realised.
Furthermore, Tk5.60 crore of the Tk8.54 crore from cow markets, Tk5.57 lakh of the Tk38 lakh from slaughterhouses, Tk2.03 crore of the Tk10 crore from rent on municipal equipment, Tk4.09 crore of the Tk6.70 crore from childrens' parks, Tk79 lakh of the Tk1.25 crore from schedules and other firms, Tk88.87 lakh of the Tk3 crore from community centers, Tk16.33 lakh of the Tk70 lakh from graveyards and crematoriums, Tk1 crore of the Tk1 crore from city taxes and damages and Tk1.08 crore of the Tk1.70 crore from marriage and death certificates had been realised.
Chief Revenue Officer Yusuf Ali Sardar told the Bangla Tribune: “The main reason for the lack of funds from revenue is the poor performance of the holding tax revenue source. We had made that estimate after the tax reevaluation. But because of a court ruling, that source has now stopped. If we had been able to realise our planned earnings, we would have been able to get Tk400 crore more.”
“The hearing on the case will take place tomorrow [Tuesday]. If the court rules in favour of the DSCC, then we can reevaluate the tax and increase earnings next year. We had also expected high revenues from the markets,” he added, while noting that revenues from the market had also slowed down because of the case.
The story was first published in Bangla Tribune