ISLAMABAD - The CDA on Wednesday achieved a milestone after the federal cabinet, while reviewing its earlier decision, accorded approval to proposed amendments in CDA Ordinance 1960. The amendments are aimed to empower authority to hold joint ventures with private firms in terms of development of stalled and new residential sectors or any other project of importance. Draft amendments would now be submitted with the President of Pakistan for promulgation of an Ordinance instead of an Act of Parliament. Earlier on April 25, 2012 during its meeting the federal cabinet has suggested CDA to resubmit draft of amendments in the Authority’s Ordinance 1960 with the federal cabinet as a legislative bill and not as an ordinance. But on Wednesday federal cabinet accorded approval to amendments in Authority’s Ordinance setting aside it’s own recommendations.
It further reads: “But the CDA is of the view that due to influx of public in Islamabad, the residential problems need to be resolved on urgent basis. Therefore, the aforementioned cabinet decision is required to be reviewed for onward submission to the Honourable President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan for promulgation of an Ordinance instead of an Act of Parliament.”
According to document the proposed amendments draft provides insertion of some new sub-sections in CDA Ordinance 1960. It basically aimed to empower the Authority to hold joint ventures with the private firms in terms of development of stalled and new residential sectors or any other project of importance.
The insertion of proposed Section 33C in CDA Ordinance would empower the Authority to withdraw from the already acquired land. Proposed Section 33C reads: “The Authority shall be at liberty to withdraw from the acquisition of any land, through issuance of a written notification at any time prior to taking possession, where the Authority has not paid compensation because of any reason or the Authority considers that the required land is no more required for the scheme, it was acquired for.” “Currently CDA owes approximately Rs36b on the account of land it acquired in past but not compensated the landowners. A huge chunk of this acquired land it of no use for CDA that is why we are trying to get rid of this debt,” commented an official.
While, when it comes to liberty to hold joint ventures, insertion of proposed Section 10A in CDA Ordinance provides the establishment of a “Public-Private Partnership Cell”. The cell would be consist of officers from within the CDA, other local bodies, agencies and may also include representative(s) from the Finance Department and independent technical and legal experts. This Cell shall identify suitable projects and prioritise these within its sector, appoint transaction advisors for project preparation and tendering, conduct a competitive tendering process, carryout bid(s) evaluation, negotiate and sign the agreement(s) after approval of Board and monitor and evaluate implementation and operations.
It also provides the establishment of a project implementation unit, which would oversee the day-to-day implementation of the project. The city managers had sought the aforementioned amendments in CDA’s Ordinance on the grounds that the Authority does not have the financial resources to undertake development of new sectors and already owes huge amounts in respect of land acquired by it.
“The value of land in developed sectors continues to escalate leading to speculations, manipulation and inflation of prices by real estate agents and speculative investors which has caused great hardship for the genuine purchasers,” a solid reason stated by CDA behind this move.
“Development by holding joint ventures with private developers/partners is the proven model across the world. But unfortunately, five decades ago when CDA Ordinance was prepared it was not made part of the rules,” Chairman CDA Engineer Farkhand Iqbal has said. “Apex court had struck E-11 joint venture on the basis of this lacuna in CDA Ordinance. But now there would be no hurdle in the authority’s way to develop stalled sectors,” he added. Farkhand Iqbal said on one part the amendment would close the door of corruption while on other it would reduce the miseries of long-neglected affected peoples of several stalled sectors. “At first I would go to find partners to develop sectors G-12 and F-12,” Farkhand informed about CDA’s future strategy. He said that holding of joint venture with private partners for infrastructure development project is the only way forward to resolve housing issues in the federal capital.