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Buying power: Punjab govt relaxes austerity measures

The provincial government has relaxed austerity measures against departments making unnecessary purchases, keeping in view the concerns of newly elected heads of local government.

According to a notification available with The Express Tribune, the Punjab government granted permission to the local government to purchase information technology equipment, machinery and items required for water supply, sewerage and solid waste management. The goods included tractor trolleys, de-watering sets, fog machines and spray pumps etc.

The austerity ban would not affect the purchase of the above mentioned articles, thus allowing the local government to purchase the items from its own fund. The local authorities would not need to refer the procurement to the austerity committee. However, the measures will remain in place on the purchase of new vehicles, air tickets, air-conditioners and generators.

This was one of the proposals drafted by a fifteen-member committee formed to propose amendments in the Punjab Local Government Act 2013. The committee was formed in April by the Punjab chief minister and was further bifurcated into three subcommittees which would give recommendations on functionality, revenue and development funding issues.

The committee recommended the overhauling of the Schedule of Establishment and demanded that the local government prepare its own schedule to increase control over on health and education.

It also proposed bringing the cattle market partly under the control of the local government. The body proposed the formation of district committees at the municipal corporation and district council levels to coordinate between the provincial and local governments. The proposal suggested the local government to be the authority to grant permissions regarding housing colonies. It also proposed amendments in the Punjab Financial Commission and reassessment of austerity measures.

The proposals from these committees were consolidated into one. MNA Hamza Shehbaz Sharif, also the head Public Affairs Unit, held a meeting with this committee to address issues.

Reporter. Buying power: Punjab govt relaxes austerity measures. The Express Tribune, June 21, 2017.

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