The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has launched a mobile application that would provide complete development budget information to people, CPDI Executive Director Amer Ejaz said. Speaking at the launching ceremony, Punjab Assembly Standing Committee on Local Government Chairman Abdul Razaq Dhillon said access to district development budget will not only increase transparency and public participation in local governance but will also prove to be a great step towards strengthening local governments. CPDI Budget Tracker Mobile App was in line with the vision of the Punjab government on e-governance.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2017.
LAKKI MARWAT: The Lakki Marwat district government on Friday launched its website at a ceremony held in the district headquarters complex, Tajazai, here.
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Rawalpindi – Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) launched report on ‘Study of Budget Making Process at District level in Punjab’.
The objective of this study is to analyse the processes of budget-making at district level and to highlight the status of compliance with the timelines provided in the Budget Rules 2003. Empirical data has been collected from all districts through a network of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to determine the level of public participation in the budget-making process and also to help the CSOs in identifying the gaps in the process.
Talking to media men yesterday, Syed Kausar Abbas, Programme Manager of CPDI said that budget was the most important policy document of the government. In the modern day state all policies were supposed to be formulated through active public participation. The federal and provincial budgets were hotly debated in both provincial and national assemblies and discussed in electronic/print media, however, the district budgets are approved in quiet isolation. He said that the Punjab Assembly should present budget in the month of April to ensure proper debate on the budgetary allocations in the public sectors.
Kausar Abbas said that budget-making was a continuous process. “The Budget Rules provide a step by step calendar for budget-making. The very first step is the issuance of Budget Call Letter which is to be issued in the month of September,” he said. It was noted with concern that only one third of the districts issued the BCL on the stipulated time.
The next important element was the submission of estimate of expenditures/receipts and the excess/surrender statements. The former makes the basis of next year budget and the later makes the basis of revised budget. It has been observed that only 11 districts were able to complete the exercise of revised budget in time. It was observed that most of the districts did not pass the budget of 2015-16 in time. That was to say that the budget was passed in July (and even later) in these cases, he mentioned.
He said there has been total ban on CCB schemes, thereby reducing the level of public participation in development planning. Less than half the districts were able to launch ADP schemes while the rest had zero districts ADP. This is largely due to the fact that the PFC shares have not been able to cope with the ever rising current/salary expenditures.
Only 14 districts have their own websites while the rest do not have any website. This situation also creates hindrance in sharing of information with the public thus affecting the level of public awareness and facilitation adversely.
The overall lack of public participation at the district level has created alternate modes and forums of public consultation like DCC (District Coordination Committee) wherein the elected parliamentarians play the role of sharing the public voice with the state functionaries. The government is all set to launch the new local government system. The proposed system of local government is a major shift away from the present system. The mandate of the new local bodies has been reduced to merely municipal functions.
In order to plug the gaps in district budget-making it is important to enhance the capacity of the budget wing, following the budget calendar, share information with the public through internet and other sources, encourage public participation and discourage political interference in district budgets.
Survey on budget-making process was conducted by member organisations of ‘Citizens’ Network for Budget Accountability (CNBA)’ in all 36 districts of Punjab. CNBA is a network of 25 civil society organizations working for budget reforms and accountability at district level in Punjab.
LAHORE – The Punjab government has not yet allocated funds for district governments under provincial finance commission. Moreover, the district governments in Punjab have yet to prepare and approve their annual budget for the current fiscal year 2015-16.
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LAHORE: The Punjab government presented Rs 1.4 trillion budget but it remains to be seen that how receipts and expenditure targets will be achieved in the next financial year.
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LAHORE: The Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) on Sunday criticised the PML-N-led Punjab government for not involving the civil society in budget making, failing to achieve targets set for different sectors in the ongoing fiscal year and leaving loopholes in the revenue and expenditure break-up for FY 2016.
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ISLAMABAD (BMZ REPORT )
Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) has successfully launched websites of 5 district Governments in Punjab during first quarter of 2014. Remaining district websites will also be launched in the upcoming phases. Talking to media Syed Kausar Abbas, Program Manager of Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) told that CPDI has launched the websites of districts governments in 5 Districts of Punjab. These districts include Jhelum, Rahim Yar Khan, Muzaffar Garh, Lodhran and Chakwal. Now citizens can access to information of the public departments by logging in to www.jhelum.gop.pk, www.rahimyarkhan.gop.pk, www.muzaffargarh.gop.pk, www.lodhran.gop.pk, www.chakwal.gop.pk . He said that the purpose of launching websites is to share the day to day updates with citizens and to share updates information with the citizens. Kausar Abbas said that this is a step towards the transparency in the affairs of public departments at district level. He said that CPDI initiated the project of website development of the district governments of Punjab to facilitate them to introduce the concept of e-governance at district level. He also told that the websites are handed over to district governments and now they are responsible to update the regular information on the website of district government. Kausar Abbas said that the district governments should put all the public relevant information on the website to promote public participation and as well as promote transparency in the process of district governments. He also urged the District Coordination Officers to regularly monitor and update the websites of district government to share maximum information with citizens.
Islamabad, 26th July, 2013 – A study on budget making process in Pakistan was released on Friday by Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives, an Islamabad-based non-governmental organization. The study was conducted by the Citizens Network for Budget Accountability, a network of 23 civil society organizations and activists from different districts of the Punjab province formed to monitor the process of budget-making at the district level. The main aim of the study was to collect research-based evidence whether district governments of Punjab are following the timelines and required procedures for the budget-making process.
The study establishes that budget-making process in Pakistan has been largely opaque. Of 36 districts in the Punjab, only 3 districts have some sort of consultations with civil society during the process of budget making a mandatory requirement under District Budget Rules 2003. People have little opportunity to participate in the process that affects the quality of their lives directly. No major steps have been taken by any government or political parties to make this process participatory or people-oriented. Further, there is no tradition of releasing pre-budget statement to the public. The best practices in budget making process world over include preparation of Citizen Budget. This is the presentation of budget in simplified language for understanding of general public. Only four districts claimed to have prepared “citizen budget” but its copy was not shared.
The study shows that only 26 districts have issued budget call letters (BCLs) to district departments. Of these 26 districts, vision/mission of the district government was mentioned only in 6 BCLs and only 19 were sent with detailed budget calendar. The study also revealed that process of budget making was still in a very rudimentary stage. The estimates of expenditure should have been completed by first of March but only 11 districts have completed it. Similarly, estimates of receipts that should have been completed by March 1, were completed by 9 districts only.
An important yardstick for information dissemination would have been a good interactive and updated website. The survey results show that only 6 districts have functional websites. There was no district where budget figures for last 3 years could be found. Districts are also shy of posting their project expenses regularly on their websites.
The budget branches of district governments are in depleted condition. Only 3 districts have some sort of dedicated research staff in budget branch. With Chief Minister of the Punjab distributed more that 150,000 laptops last year, budget branch of only 11 districts are fully computerized.
The study recommends the increased public participation in budget making process. It reiterates that local government elections are conducted in the Punjab and local governments are placed in the districts to oversee the performance of executive branch.
A copy of the study can be requested by writing to CPDI or it can be accessed using the following link: