New LG law in KP Delimitation, fresh fund sharing formula coming
PESHAWAR, Dec 27: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s rules, district-based administrative setups, budget for the current financial year, and development planning are set to undergo massive transformation in the next few weeks, officials have said.
In line with its decision to introduce the new local government system in the province from January 1, 2013, the provincial government will undertake a massive exercise to demarcate boundaries of rural and urban union councils, municipal corporations and municipal committees.
Besides, the provincial government is also set to revisit the resource distribution formula to govern the distribution of funds among the new entities that will come into existence in line with the new law.
The provincial government, said an official, would abandon the existing Provincial Finance Commission that would be replaced by a new entity.
“The PFC will be replaced by a new forum, i.e. local councils finance commission,” said an official of the provincial government, adding that the new commission would be quite different from PFC.
The provincial government on Wednesday notified the enforcement of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act, 2012 from January 1, 2013, introducing a complex mix of the local government system introduced on August 14, 2001, and the one that was under implementation before it.
The officials told Dawn on Thursday that the provincial government would set up the ‘Local Council Delimitation Authority’ and the Local Councils’ Finance Commission to fulfill important legal requirements to facilitate the enforcement of the new system.
“Once the Authority is in place in the weeks or months to come, the government will undertake a massive demarcation exercise to pave the way for the next local government elections in the province,” said a finance department official.
The demarcation exercise, added the official, was imperative to facilitate the implementation of the new system since urban and rural areas would be represented by separate elected bodies.
“It involves political implications as in several districts, rural areas would be represented by municipal committees that were previously part of tehsil councils,” said the official, adding that under new system, politicians of the urban areas would not have contacts with the people of rural areas.
Under the new local government system, there would be 11 members in a union council, bringing down the number from 13 under the existing system that would remain in practice until Dec 31, 2012.
Similarly, the new local councils finance commission would also include the provincial minister for local government and rural development, who was not included in PFC. In addition to that, two members of the provincial assembly would also be taken on the new commission who would be nominated by the provincial chief minister. This would be in departure to the existing system under which none of the provincial assembly members’ was on PFC.
Under the existing scheme of things, the provincial finance minister heads PFC, whereas the other nine members include secretaries of the provincial finance department, local government and rural development department, and local government and rural development department. Besides, three members are also nominated from among the private sector professionals and one each nazim (elected head) of district, town/tehsil, and union council.
Under the new arrangement, the provincial finance minister would continue to be the head of the commission, whereas, among nine other members would also be included minister for local government and rural development, two members of the provincial assembly, secretaries of the finance, planning and development, and local government and rural development department, a chairman from among the elected chairmen of the upcoming district councils (to be nominated by the district councils chairmen), a chairman of one of the municipal committees, and a chairman of one of the unions councils.
The last of the nine members would be taken from a civil society organisation, according to an official.
“The CSOs’ representative will be nominated by the provincial government,” said the official.
Besides, the provincial government, according to an official concerned, would also need to bring about significant changes to its budgetary plan for the current financial year.
Budgetary allocations and financial disbursements to the upcoming local government entities, added the official, were expected to undergo some changes as the new local government entities would get funds in accordance with the new resource distribution formula that would be put in place by the new local council finance commission.
Furthermore, the accounts of the local government institutions would now be audited by the Auditor General of Pakistan in place of the local fund audit, and the new system, according to an official, also entails the creation of municipal police to enforce local laws.
“This all requires a massive effort to ensure the effective implementation of the new system from January 1,” said a provincial government official.