A property survey of Karachi and then Hyderabad is going to be undertaken with the World Bank with the aim that real estate taxes help pay for city management.
“If the recoveries are increased it would financially strengthen the local bodies,” said Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.
Only Rs2 billion in property tax is collected from Karachi which is lower than that of Lahore—a city smaller in size and population. To give you an idea, Bombay rakes in INR60 billion from its property taxes and Bangalore about INR35 billion. If the experts have done their math right, they reckon Karachi could cough up as much as Rs20 billion in property taxes.
This project was discussed at CM House with World Bank Country Director Najy Benhassine. Planning & Development Chairman Mohammad Waseem pointed out that the last property survey was conducted in Karachi in 2001 by the Excise & Taxation department. It will now be conducted by World Bank experts.
The Sindh government has been working with the World Bank on CLICK or the Competitive and Livable City of Karachi Project. The idea is that this will improve the city which will ultimately attract investment. But to run the city better, local government will have to have the money to do it. That money, the bank and CM House hope, will come from property taxes.
A GIS survey would take two years to mark every single building in Karachi. When you know how many buildings there are, you can start taxing them under Urban Immovable Property Taxes. It is an exhaustive door-to-door exercise that would have to be outsourced to more than one company. But once this is done, it will make managing the city a lot more easier and not just for property.