Peshawar, January 21 (Online): The KPK government wants to empower the district administration on budget preparation.
The development of budgets at district level and empowering the district administrations to carry out need assessment before the preparation of budgets is a significant milestone that the provincial government wants to achieve before the new local government is in place.
In view of this development, the government initiated a series of trainings on budget and meetings on expenditure reviews in district Lower Dir on 14 January 2021 with technical assistance of Sub-National Governance (SNG) program.
All devolved heads of departments were invited along with their budget and accounts officials.
The session was held in the assembly hall and chaired by ADC F&P. The session covered several topics on expenditure review, need assessment and budget preparation; one after the other to capitalize on the opportunity of having all head of departments and the relevant staff along with other important stakeholders, on the same forum.
The first part of the session was based on expenditure review and orientation of line departments on expenditure review template. Historically, it has been observed that large amount of district expenditure is being conducted during the last quarter of each financial year.
One of the frequent arguments put forward by the line departments is the lack of timely releases and access to the expenditure data. On the other hand, this is counter argued by the finance department, as lack of line departments’ financial management capacity, resulting in inefficient execution of budget.
This adversely impacts the release schedule and procedure at the devolved level and hampers the service delivery at the grass-root level.
In order to respond to the above identified problem, SNG-HI Programme North Cluster, provided technical assistance for the development of an expenditure review dashboard to facilitate F&P wing to conduct a district wide expenditure review.
The dashboard has been kept user friendly to facilitate Finance & Planning and DDOs to track budget utilization on monthly basis and enhance the effectiveness of public money by prioritise funding requirements for key service delivery areas.
Expenditure utilization of line departments were discussed and gaps were identified. The office of F&P issued instructions to expedite expenditure and it was decided to conduct regular review meetings.
As a first step towards the initiation of budget preparation process, the district officials were oriented on budget call circular and budget preparation forms along with ways to enhance the budget credibility and effectiveness by use of needs assessment exercise, procurement planning and citizen engagement.
The session explained in detail the process to conduct needs assessment of service delivery institutions and how it will enable district officials to adopt evidence-based budgeting. The possible use of GIS technology to strengthen sectoral profiles and development of plans was also discussed.
It was further deliberated on the mechanisms that district administration Lower Dir will adopt to develop citizen budget with the support of SNG for FY 2021-22. Inclusive guidelines of Citizen’s engagement have already been circulated to the field formations of LG that includes marginalized groups in the society like minorities, women from rural areas, transgender communities and people with disabilities amongst other groups in the process.
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