The three tiers of local government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa couldn’t pass their budgets before commencement of new financial year owing to late announcement of Provincial Finance Commission award, according to sources. They said that according to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Local Government Act, 2013, the provincial government was bound to announce PFC award and grants for the districts prior to the commencement of new financial year.
The Section 34 of the LG law states that: “The provincial government shall, sufficiently before the beginning of each financial year, notify the provincial grants, which may be credited to the fund of a local government from the provincial consolidated fund.”
Similarly, the nazims of the three tiers including district, tehsil/town and village and neighbourhood councils were also bound under the law to pass the budgets from their respective councils before commencing of the new financial year, sources said.
They said that time for the passage of budgets of the three tiers of the local government system was exactly the same as fixed for the provincial and federal governments.
Councils fail to pass budgets before beginning of new financial year
The Section 35 of the LG Act states: “Before the commencement of the next financial year, each nazim shall, present the budget for consideration and approval of the respective local council.”
Expressing his concerns, Shangla district nazim Niaz Ahmed told Dawn that nazims of the three tiers were not able to pass budgets from their respective councils owing to delay in announcement of PFC award and grants.
“How nazims would prepare budgets when they don’t know about their share in the PFC award,” he questioned.
Mr Ahmed, also general secretary of District Nazims Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that the PFC award was announced last week in violation of the Section 34 of LG Act. He said that the districts were convoyed about their share when the financial year already started.
“Now the district governments will need two to three weeks to prepare and pass their budgets in consultation with the ruling and opposition councillors,” he said.
It is worth mentioning that only the district council of Mardan has passed its budget on June 30. Asked how the budget was prepared when the PFC award was not announced, sources said that the budget was prepared keeping in view proposed share of Mardan in the PFC award.
They said that provincial finance department uploaded proposed share of the districts on the website before announcement of PFC award. They said that district government of Mardan prepared its budget keeping in view the proposed share, which was available on the website of the finance department.
Local Council Association Khyber Pakhtunkhwa general secretary Israrullah, when contacted, said that the local governments were facing problems in preparing budgets timely owing to late announcement of the PFC award.
He said that PFC award and grants for the districts should be announced much before commencing of the new financial year to give enough time to the three tiers of local government to prepare budgets in a better way.
Mr Israrullah also demanded of the provincial government to take measures for the capacity building of the district finance officials as they faced problems in utilisation of the development funds.
Mohammad Ali Arbab, the nazim of Town-III in Peshawar, told Dawn that provincial finance department was yet to convey to him the share of his town in the PFC award. “Owing to delay in passage of budget, official activities have almost come to a standstill,” he said.
Ashfaq, Muhammad. Late announcement of PFC award upsets local govts. Dawn, July 10, 2017.