LAHORE: Speakers at a conference have stressed the need for bringing necessary amendments to the act for giving financial and administrative powers to the local governments.

An NGO, Women in Struggle for Empowerment (WISE) arranged the seminar tittled ‘Punjab Stakeholder’s Conference on Local Government’ at a local hotel Thursday in collaboration with National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Legislators, policy-makers, officials, civil society members, LG experts, women members of Local Government Caucus attended the event.

The speakers pointed out lack of interest on the part of provincial government, opposition of MNAs, MPAs and parallel institutions and authorities were hurdles in strengthening of local governments.

Wise Executive Director Bushra Khaliq said 16 amendments have been introduced to PLGA 2013 so far. The administrative and fiscal powers have not been devolved to local councils, which was against the spirit of constitution. She said Punjab lags behind other provinces with regard to women representation in LG structures, which was less than 20% as against 22% in Sindh, 30% in KPK and 33% in Balochistan.

Zahid Islam said that functions of UCs have been decreased to 36 % as compared to 76 in Ayub regime.  MPA Dr Nausheen Hamid said constitutional cover was a must to stop provincial governments making mockery of the LG system.

Qazi Mobin said the political parties were not taking the LG system seriously. The civil society must pressurize the political parties to progressively amend manifestos in favor of a strong LG system and enhancement of reserve seats and direct election.

Salman Abid suggested stopping practice of distribution and utilization of development funds through MNAs and MPAs. Development must be done through local governments, he said.–Staff Reporter