LAHORE: The Punjab government on Thursday issued the Punjab Local Government Act 2022 through gazette notification, which will be implemented across the province, except the areas notified as cantonments.
The Punjab Assembly passed the bill on October 19 and sent it to the Punjab governor for approval, but the governor returned the bill for review by the Punjab Assembly. The Punjab Assembly, after reconsideration, again passed the bill on November 1 and sent it to the governor for his approval. The governor did not give his assent to the bill within the stipulated period of 10 days. After the stipulated period, the Punjab government issued the same bill as the Punjab Local Government Act 2022 through gazette notification.
As per the new LG Act, the Punjab chief minister has been given powers to suspend or dissolve any of the local governments if he finds the local government has been unable to meet its statutory obligations for last two fiscal years or it becomes insolvent and remains so for a period of one fiscal year.
Moreover, on expiry of the term of a council or otherwise pending the constitution of a new local government or a council, the CM through an order can appoint any of the officers to perform such functions and exercise such powers and authority of the respective local government.
According to the LG Act 2022, the elections will be held on party basis by using Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). The Election Commission will hold the election under this Act and will announce the election date after consulting with the secretary, Local Government. Moreover, the Election Commission will delimit union councils and metropolitan corporations under this Act and deputy commissioners (DCs) will coordinate with the Election Commission in this regard. Head of the local government, deputy mayor, vice chairperson, councillors and reserve seats will be elected on the basis of simple majority and general councillors will be elected on closed list proportioned representation basis in term of the Section 57. The Primary & Secondary Healthcare, School Education, Social Welfare, Population Welfare, Sports and Civil Defence will be devolved and governed by their respective district authorities. However, the government will have the power to devolve any other district level office or de-notify any such district-level office through gazette notification. Lord mayor, district mayor and city mayor will be chairperson of the district authorities.
The local government will establish Local Government Fund and all revenues received by the LG through taxes, tools, fees, fares, charges, fines, penalties and grants from the provincial government will be credited to the LG Fund. Moreover, the provincial government will constitute a Local Government Finance Commission under the Act. The Punjab finance minister will be the chairperson and the Local Government minister will be the co-chairperson of the finance commission. Four MPAs, two each from treasury and opposition, administrative secretaries of finance, local government, planning & development, four experts including a woman and four LG heads nominated by the CM will be the members. The finance commission will decide and allocate the share of a local government.
The Punjab government will also constitute the Punjab Local Government Commission under this Act. The commission will ensure implementation of the Act and its transition, remove hindrances for the local governments to discharge their functions under the Act. It will also recommend amendments in the legislation and subordinate legislation.