PESHAWAR - Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has initiated second-generation reforms envisaged with a string of initiatives to remove bottlenecks from the local government system to make it more efficient for improved service delivery, a statement said. 

These reforms initiatives will guide the course-correction process in LG system established in 2015 under the Local Government Act 2013. “KP government is keen to continuously work on improving the system in order to streamline the business processes in the system for better and transparent utilisation of funds”, said Senior Minister for Local Government, Election and Rural Development Inayat Ullah Khan while speaking at a workshop on Monday.

The minister said the provincial government was committed for tracking of development funds so that the funds reach to the citizens in time and on equitable basis. “This is good time to look back and see what is working and what is not working and have a fair assessment of the situation on ground for designing a futuristic road map”, the minister remarked.

He hoped that workshop on institutional assessment of LG system would guide the course of second generation reforms to deepen devolution and accelerate service delivery for communities.

The workshop was jointly organised by LGE&RD department and the DFID-funded Sub-National Governance Programme. It was attended by district nazmeen, deputy commissioners as well as senior officers of KP government departments.

Two reports on performance of the local government system were released which were discussed in detail in the workshop. Both the reports focusing on institutional assessment; one on district governments and the other on village and neighbourhood councils; identified a number of reform areas in the system to improve efficiency and transparency in the system.

Titled as second-generation reforms , these recommendations are being implemented by the KP government for which the district governments and neighbourhood councils were taken on board during the workshop and their input were solicited. A series of recommendations were made to improve performance in terms of compliance with the rules and regulations. It was suggested to create a district planning cadre and strengthen the office of district officer finance and planning and to establish mechanism for increasing coordination among local government, finance and planning departments for compliance with P&D guidelines and budget rules.

Several recommendations were made for strengthening the financial system within the LG system.  Currently, the LG’s financial system is facing challenges from budget preparation to allocation and utilisation of funds.

It has been observed that fewer than the prescribed, rather negligible monitoring visits had been conducted by the supervisory office in district. Majority of the visiting officers also did not submit monitoring reports of their visits.

To overcome this situation, it was recommended to enact the already-formulated monitoring and supervision rules for the local governments. It was also suggested to profile projects for visits of commissioner, nazim and DC besides establishment of internal audit cells in the office of secretary LG department.

Finally, it was recommended to develop a model tax schedule in almost all district governments. Moreover, it was also proposed to find ways and means for generating own source revenue, making the regulatory framework more amenable and devising a mechanism for tracking of revenue funds.

Secretary LGE&RD Jamaluddin Shah said that with the political, social and economic role of local governments in KP growing increasingly important, the assessment exercise was an important step to find what makes the officers deliver less at the gross root level. “We have clear set of priorities as way forward to further strengthen the development planning at local level”, Shah said.

The assessment has been undertaken province wide, assessing the situation, identifying gaps and evaluating how to course correct and make improvements in the system for better service delivery. For each local government tier, the reports provide a situational analysis; highlight the progress and constraints of decentralisation, and outlines potential ways to improve its implementation.

Using primary data collected through a structured questionnaire covering all important thematic areas of the system, the institutional assessment reports evaluate the performance and assesses the level of adherence with rules and regulations as well.