Rawalpindi district has been ranked 19th in the province in terms of preparation of budget documents, performance transparency and people’s participation.
According to a report released by the Center for Peace and Development Initiative (CPDI) in collaboration with Citizens Network for Budget Accountability to rank the 36 districts in the province, the district government failed to release the budget call letter on the due date.
“The finance and planning department usually releases the budget call letter in the month of July, but this year, the letter has still not been issued,” said CPDI programme manager Kausar Abbas. He said that it was violation of budget rules and was the reason why the 2014-15 district budget was presented in July instead of June.
The report says that the post of executive district officer finance has been vacant for several years, affecting finance and budget preparation activities in the district.
“The seat has been lying vacant for last three years…the government claim they are searching for a competent officer to appoint on a permanent basis,” the report said.
According to Punjab Tehsil and District Budget Rules 2003, the EDO (finance) is responsible for preparing the budget, but due to unavailability of the officer, the budget could not be prepared on time.
The report highlights the lack of public participation in district government’s affairs and notes that the government website has been offline for several years.
The websites of 25 districts including Rawalpindi are not functional, which was why budget documents could not be uploaded for public awareness and accessibility, number of projects and funds approved for it. “Budget documents are available only on websites of six district governments which were prepared by CPDI,” the report says.
“Due to non-functional websites, people have no participation in government activities and projects being launched.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 11th, 2014