Quetta – Transparency and citizens’ participation in budget making process lacked at district level in Balochistan.
Budget Call letters, estimates of expenditures and receipts, consultation with stake holders, websites of all the districts of Balochistan remained nonfunctional during last fiscal year. CPDI demands transparency and citizens’ participation in the budget making process at district level in Balochistan. Balochistan Assembly should present budget in the month of April every year to ensure proper debate by the opposition members and treasury benches in the budget session, said Syed Kausar Abbas, Program Manager, CPDI
Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) launched a report on budget making process at district level in Balochistan. The launching ceremony was attended by Secretaries, Deputy Commissioners, District Officials, Deputy Mayor and number of civil society workers from Quetta. Syed Kausar Abbas, Program Manager of CPDI said that the district governments did not follow the rules of budget throughout the year at district level. The local government institutions of Balochistan needs to be involved proactively in the budget making process to prioritize the needs of the people at gross root level. The report was focused on the district level budget making process and following recommendations were made for transparent and need based budget at district level in Balochistan:
- Every Local council should launch and exercise for need assessment in their respective areas of jurisdiction for preparation of schemes that need to be included in the budget.
- Well before the issuance of call letter from the government, a time table inviting public suggestions and recommendation on budget should be circulated through media.
- Procedure of budget making should be made very simple and easy to understand for general masses.
- The elected members should arrange meetings with general public at public places to hold open discussion on budget round the year which should effectively be monitored and recorded by the top level management.
- Proper trainings of the elected representatives and employees of budget branch may be arranged to give them specific knowledge regarding the domain of Local Councils and budget making process.
- The guidelines of LCGC on budgetary Issues and subsequent recommendation should be taken into account.
- The role of Divisional Coordination Committee (DCC) must be made more rationale and practical regarding scrutiny, authentication and approval of budget as enshrined in the BLGA, 2010.
- Development Schemes reflected in a particular budget should be prepared for collective benefit of a particular territorial jurisdiction of local councils.
- Rules may immediately be framed for budget preparation in local councils to provide legal cover to the process.
- The budget rule under the BLGA 2010 has not so far been framed and practiced e.g. Section 106. Further due to this draw back the Local Councils have been preparing budget documents on different patterns.
- As already stipulated that the local councils are mostly dependent on the Govt. grants that are released on quarterly basis by the Finance Department GOB, therefore the local councils are unaware about their actual share which is significant drawback in the system.
- In absence of knowledge of actual share deficit budget are being prepared which is against the provision of BLGA 2010.
- Budget calendar prepared and circulated by the GOB must be followed.
- Measures should be taken for preparation of a balanced budgeting.
- It is expressly provided in section 95 of the LGA, 2010 that all development schemes shall be included in the budget. It means that it is prerogative of a specific local council to initiate and implement the scheme without interference of any quarter. Interference of any quarter whatsoever should not be allowed and local council should be allowed to function without political pressure for the betterment of general public irrespective of the political affiliations.
Published in The Balochistan Point on October 26, 2015