Billions stuck in citizen community boards -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Billions stuck in citizen community boards

LAHORE, July 05 2006: Punjab Law and Local Government Minister Basharat Raja says billions of rupees stuck in the citizen community boards are a question mark for the local government representatives. The minister said this while inaugurating a three-day Punjab Local Government Association Founding Convention organised by the Cida Devolution Support Project and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and attended by over 350 local body representatives and officials here on July 04.

He said the government was losing nothing owing to non-utilization of huge CCB funds. It was, in fact, the loss of the local government institutions and the people. Community awareness required to be created to ensure the utilization of funds for solving the people’s problems. He said the provincial finance commission had announced its award providing sufficient funds to the local bodies. The government had fulfilled its responsibility of providing resources to the local bodies. It was now their turn to fulfill their responsibilities. They could do a lot for the people by exercising the powers given to them under the law.

The minister said the government would train more than 54,000 councilors this year for building their capacity to perform the functions which had been assigned to them, but were not being performed by them. The training programme for lady councilors would start at the Women Political School, Rawalpindi, on July 03. An equal number of councilors had been trained last year. The chief minister had also approved up gradation of the councilors training academy at Lala Musa. A delegation of district, town, tehsil and union councilors would be sent to other provinces for watching the performance of their counterparts there.

He said the Punjab Local Government Association was being formed to strengthen the system and improve the standard of service delivery by the local government institutions during their second term. The local government representatives should analyse their performance and show commitment to fulfill the responsibilities assigned to them. Additional chief secretary Naguibullah Malik said the Punjab government was committed to devolving administrative powers at the lower level.

Federation of Candian Municipalities chief executive James Knight said the local government was a powerful tool for solving the problems faced by the citizens. Cida representative Kishore Sultana said the local government representatives had their associations in 150 countries, but no association existed in Pakistan. Councillors elected on the seats reserved for women, workers, peasants and minorities also complained about being ignored. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities was helping in the formation of the local government association in Punjab. The elections of the Punjab Local Government Association will be held on Thursday.
Source: Dawn