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Body for monitoring LG institutions remains dysfunctional

Despite having a fully-functional secretariat, the Sindh Local Government Commission (SLGC) is still incomplete and dysfunctional for want of nomination of two members of the provincial assembly — one each from the treasury and opposition, it emerged on Tuesday.

Sources said despite repeated reminders from the SLGC, the assembly staff failed to include the nomination of the two members on the agenda of the provincial legislature.

The SLGC was constituted under the Sindh Local Government Act No. XLII of 2013. The law was passed by the Sindh Assembly on Aug 19, 2013 and enforced on Aug 26 after the governor gave its assent to it.

According to the law, LG minister would be the chairman of the commission with two MPAs — one each to be nominated by the leader of the house and leader of the opposition, respectively — two qualified members nominated by the government and the law secretary as its members. The LG secretary will act as the secretary of the commission and as the principal accounting officer.

However, the SLGC failed to take cognizance of the violations of the provisions of the act by local government institutions in discharging their responsibilities. These LG councils had become functional in September last and were about to complete their first year next month.

Non-functioning of commission affecting coordination between tiers of govt

The sources said due to non-functioning of the commission, the consultative planning meetings of the national and provincial legislators, mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen, vice chairmen of councils could not be held despite the fact that such meetings were supposed to be held on a periodic basis to provide a platform for their participation in development activities.

Likewise, the consultative process of the annual development plan of the council, formulating procedure for utilisation of the legislators’ development grant, assessing implementation of decision of these meetings and review of development schemes was blocked, the sources said.

On the other hand, they said, complaints about violation of rules and mismanagement were being sent to the LG secretary. Such complaints were not being forwarded to the commission for a probe as the SLGC secretariat was either idle or engaged in some other duties.

According to the law, the commission’s findings after inquiries are binding upon the council concerned. The commission could also recommend to the chief minister suspension for up to 90 days of a mayor, deputy mayor or chairman or vice chairman till the pendency of an enquiry against him/her.

The commission has the same powers as are vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 in respect of summoning and enforcing attendance of any person and examining him on oath, production of documents and examination of witnesses.

It is obligatory on part of the commission, whose secretariat was established and functional for the past two years, to conduct special inspections, inquiry or special audit of the council on its own initiative or on the directive of the CM and submit reports to him.

The other functions, which the commission failed to discharge for want of its completion, are to resolve disputes between any government department and the council or between two councils. If the commission failed to settle the disputes, the aggrieved party may move the CM for its resolution.

The commission will also submit its annual report on the overall performance of a council and take cognizance of violation of laws and rules by it in performance of its functions.

Ghori, Habib. Body for monitoring LG institutions remains dysfunctional. Dawn, August 23, 2017.

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