No funds for district governments | Pakistan Today

No funds for district governments

LAHORE – The Punjab government has turned its back on district governments clamouring for funds to run their affairs on a daily basis, as the monthly grants of majority of districts and tehsils have been pending for months, Pakistan Today has learnt. The Finance Department issues monthly grants for 36 district governments including five city district governments, 20 cantonment boards, 144 tehsil municipal administrations (TMAs) and 3,464 union administrations.
The monthly grants for TMAs range between Rs 1 million per month to Rs 200 million for development and non-development expenditures, while those for the district governments run in billions. The Punjab Local Government Ordinance (PLGO) clearly lays down a procedure for a prompt transfer of funds to the respective accounts of district governments, tehsil and union administrations as per their allocated share. The grants are decided when the annual budget is approved and is disbursed on a monthly basis by the provincial government.
As per initial practice, funds were transferred to the district government in a specified account operated jointly by the district nazim and the district coordination officer (DCO). However, the incumbent government, through an executive arrangement, created a Special Drawing Account (SDA) operated jointly by EDO (F&P) and the DCO since the terms of district nazims had expired.
Sources in the Finance Department revealed that the district governments and TMAs have written several letters to the Finance Department for releasing finances. “We have sent the requests to the sections concerned many times but all the files have been sent back and are pending so far. The government has not released the grants since January. The district governments are managing their affairs through revenues generated on their own, but these do not fall in the ambit of the provincial government and it is their prerogative to use the finances as they want. The provincial government cannot hold their due grants on this pretext in any case,” they said.

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