LAHORE - The Punjab government has not yet allocated funds for district governments under provincial finance commission. Moreover, the district governments in Punjab have yet to prepare and approve their annual budget for the current fiscal year 2015-16.

The budget making process in Punjab is not followed which leads the government towards under spending in the service delivery projects especially in education, health, food and agriculture.

Talking to The Nation, Syed Kausar Abbas, Program Manager, Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI), said the delay in approval of budget by district governments due to delay in provision of funds by provincial finance commission questions the seriousness of Punjab government in the budget making process and as well as its spending.

He said the district and provincial governments are bound to prepare their draft budget latest by first date of April each year and discuss the draft allocations with relevant stake hol0ders in next three months. The budget should be approved latest by June 30, but the district government has still not approved their budget in Punjab due to negligence of the provincial government in provision of funds under provincial finance commission, he added.

Abbas further said the delay in budget of Punjab means that the government is not serious to ensure the service delivery rights of about 60 percent population of the country is living in this province. “The provincial governments are independent and autonomous after 18th amendment and they receive their share in the funds provided by the Federal Government under National Finance Commission Award (NFC).

The provincial government is then bound to transfer their funds to local governments according to the rules and procedures. The delay of funds from province to district is the negligence of the province.”

The government should immediately take the notice of delaying the transfer of funds and approval of budget of the district governments to ensure timely approval in future, he suggested.