Peshawar: Citizen participation in budget making process and expenditure tracking is essential for better financial management and ensuring just and transparent use of public money especially at the local govt level, said Provincial Finance Minister Muzaffar Said Advocate.
He was speaking at the launching ceremony of the initiative ‘Ensuring Citizen Participation and Oversight in Budget Making Process at District Level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), managed jointly by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), the district government Peshawar and USAID.
The programme will help in changing behaviour of all stakeholders including the govt officials towards the very important exercises of budget making and its execution, the minister said.
‘They (local govt officials) are public servants but, due to lack of training, they consider themselves as officers.’ he maintained adding that training is required for this important change in behaviour.
Syed Qasim Ali Shah, Naib Nazim, district Peshawar also spoke at the occasion. He said, with guidance and training they would improve at the budget making. He said, this is in line with the thinking of KP government as well whereas technology is need of the time in this regard.
Dr. Adid Qaiyum Suleri, Executive Director SDPI said enhanced transparency and accountability through citizen participation can lead to effective service delivery at the grass root level in KP.
By building technical and administrative capacities of the newly-elected local government representatives, government functionary and CSOs, SDPI, under the framework of the Local Government Act (LGA) 2013, will help the city district government in ensuring accountability and service delivery, he said. He described the two phases of the project.
The first one is to ensure active participation of the stakeholders during the inception period. In the second phase, the project will be implemented on ground by building capacity of the relevant government officials, elected local body representatives and civil society organizations.
The participants will be trained on extracting the required expenditure related information through ERP software named SAP (A programme used by Accountant General Office to track government expenses).
A debate on allocations and tracking expenses will be generated through Citizen Forums for creating an interface between the local government representatives and the civil society. The goals of this intervention are manifold. It will help improve the financial management by refining allocation and tracking spending.
The project has been tailored to the local needs. Over the next 18 months, 4 trainings on budget making and 8 trainings on expenditure tracking would be held in the districts of Peshawar.
Shakeel Ahmed Ramay, Senior Research Associate, SDPI and Syed Abdussalam Asif, Deputy Accountant General also appreciated the initiative jointly taken by SDPI & the USAID, which is in accordance with the Article 32 and 38 of the constitution. District residents should be assured that the tax generated from the district would be utilized for the benefit of its citizens.