PESHAWAR: A study conducted by the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) suggested that there was a dire need to discuss the district budgets with citizens groups, civil society and media for achieving the local development agenda.
It said there were several lacunae in the district budgets due to the absence of planning officers.
The study said the local body members, who had not even studied rules and financial constraints in the local government, were major hurdles that prevented the benefits from reaching the grassroots. It said the federal and provincial budgets were aggressively debated in national and provincial assemblies and discussed in electronic and print media.
The study showed that local government bodies were faced with the scarcity of human resource. The survey revealed that only 296 budget officials were posted while total number of sanctioned positions was 406.
It said that 11 districts did not have district development planning officers and this situation partially explained the reasons for delays in budget timelines at district level.
CPDI President Jehanzeb Jani said transparency and participation of citizens was completely missing in the budget making process at the district level in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He said the CPDI demanded strict adherence to budget rules and elaborated that first draft of the district budget should be presented in April to ensure timely input from citizens but none of the districts released pre-budget statement.
He said according to the budget rules, it was mandatory to provide the stakeholders a chance to express their opinion on budget proposals.