KP ‘in haste’ to introduce new LG system
PESHAWAR, Dec 30: A good number of the district-based public sector employees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will become redundant under the new local government system, Dawn has learnt on good authority.
This would cause billions of rupees’ loss to the provincial kitty as thousands of employees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa districts would get salaries and other perks and privileges without much utility to their relevant district administrations, according to well-placed officials.
“Though none of the district-based employees is being laid off, many of them won’t be needed under the new local government system,” said an official of the finance department.
In their background interviews to Dawn senior government functionaries said that the provincial government seemed to be in haste in introducing the new local government system, setting stage for the bureaucracy to experience another administrative chaos.
According to them, the provincial government is implementing the new local government system without much homework, leaving several issues unattended.
Official sources said that the local government department moved a summary request to the office of the provincial chief secretary for introducing the new local government system on December 14, 2012. The chief secretary office subsequently forwarded the summary to the chief minister secretary from where the written approval came in few days following which the notification for the enforcement of the new system was issued on Dec 23, 2012.
“An official matter is seldom processed with such a speed,” said a finance department official.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly enacted the new local government system in May this year.
An official of the local government and rural development department said that the roles and functions of the district-based finance and planning department employees could not have been determined.
“There used to be more than 10 employees working under the supervision of the district finance and planning officer under the existing system, but in the future setup there would only be a finance and planning officer in each of the 25 districts,” said an official of finance department.
All the keypunch operators and other secretariat staff previously working with the finance and planning officer would be ‘absorbed’ elsewhere as there services would no more be needed.
“Even the functions of the district finance and planning officer are not clear because the duties previously performed by the officer holding this post would now be performed at the provincial finance department,” said an official.
Under the new system, rural and urban areas will have separate elected local bodies. This would end the existing district government system introduced on August 14, 2001, therein rural and urban areas were amalgamated to have joint local councils at the sub-divisional and district level.
Another senior official of the finance department, when contacted, expressed ignorance about the future of the district governments’ Annual Development Programme (ADP).
The districts’ ADP, with a total outlay of over Rs1.5 billion per annum, makes an important part of the existing local government system. The provincial government provides funding for the districts’ ADP from its own resources and the money is distributed among the districts governments in line with a formula put in place by the Provincial Finance Commission (PFC).
The PFC, said the official, would be replaced by the local councils finance commission that had not yet been put in place.
“There are no stirs anywhere in the implementation of the new system, the number of employees working in districts would remain the same, the resource distribution formula and amount of money currently shared by the districts would also remain unchanged,” said an additional secretary of the finance department.
He said that a majority of the over 244,000 employees at the disposal of the district governments, under the existing system, was composed by the elementary and secondary schoolteachers who, would continue to work and get paid.