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November 25, 2020

Trainings held on preparation of budget at district level

Peshawar

November 25, 2020

PESHAWAR: The development of budget at district level and empowering the district administration to carry out need assessment before the preparation of budget is a significant milestone that the provincial government wants to achieve before the new local government is in place.

In view of this development, SNG programme initiated a series of trainings on budget and meetings on expenditure reviews in Shangla district on 23 November, 2020. All devolved heads of departments were invited along with their budget and accounts officials.

The session was held in the committee room of the office of Deputy Commissioner and jointly chaired by ADC F&P and ADC General. 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 heads of departments and the budget preparation 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 templates. 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 procedure at the devolved level and hampers the service delivery at the grassroots level. In order to respond to the above identified problem, SNG-II Programme North Cluster, provided technical assistance for the development of an expenditure dashboard to facilitate the F&P wing to conduct a district wide expenditure review. The dashboard has been kept user-friendly to facilitate Finance and Planning and DDOs to track budget utilization on a monthly basis and enhance the effectiveness of public money by prioritising funding requirements for key service delivery areas.

Expenditure utilization of line departments were discussed and gaps were identified. The office of F&P Shangla issued instructions to expedite expenditure and it was decided to conduct next review meeting in January to track progress of six months. As a first step towards the initiation of budget preparation process, the district officials were oriented on budget preparation forms and 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 Shangla will adopt to develop the 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 marginalised groups in the society like minorities, women from rural areas, transgender community and people with disabilities amongst other groups in the process.