Local Governments in Sindh Province are in place since last year after the LG elections under the Local Government Act 2013. The absence of Local Government budget rules jeopardizes the financial authority promised by the constitution to the district governments. Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, (CPDI) demands formulation of local government budget rules in Sindh. The province has its new local government law ‘Sindh Local Government Act, 2013’ in place but no budget rules have yet been devised to execute the budget making function at district level.
In Sindh province still financial matters are being dealt under ‘Sindh Council Budget Rules 1985’. Budget making process is crippled in the absence of budget rules under the currently implemented local government system. Raja Shoaib Akbar, Program Manager of CPDI said that Implementation on local government law is not possible without having subordinate rules hence budget making at local level is practically not possible if rules are not made in accordance with the needs of the local government law.
He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab introduced very elaborate local governed budget rules in 2016 and 2017 respectively. There is dire need to make new local government budget rules in Sindh so that the spirit of financial devolution enshrined in the constitution is upheld, said Mr. Shoaib.
Refereeing to research study on budget making process in Sindh 2016-17 conducted by CPDI, Mr. Shoaib said that a majority of the district governments in Sindh prepared their annual budgets without public consultation due to the absence of the budget rules under the newly elected local government system.
The local development process should be handed over at local level. In Sindh, due to the absence of the budget rules, provincial government controls approval of the development schemes and the budget proposals. CPDI demands Finance Department Sindh to frame budget rules according to the needs of the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013 so that the financial devolution is made possible in letter and spirit and the budget making process at district level is streamlined.
Published in The Nation (Link is under)