Tuesday August 16, 2022

Salient features of Punjab LG Act 2022

By Our Correspondent
June 25, 2022

LAHORE:The Punjab Local Government Act 2022 aims to achieve socio-economic development and enhance service delivery for all citizens of the province by devolving authority to local level and recognising cities and communities as engines of growth using an evolutionary approach towards devolution.

The salient features of the Punjab Local Government Act 2022 entail a progressive LG law granting unprecedented political, administrative, and financial autonomy to elected LGs. It will create 9 Municipal Corporations: Three-tiered LGs in 5 largest cities: Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan, Gujranwala and Rawalpindi. Two-tiered LGs in 4 divisional headquarters: Sargodha, Bahawalpur, Sahiwal, Dera Ghazi Khan.

17 Municipal Corporations; rapidly growing secondary cities will now have Mayors. 14 new cities upgraded to Corporation: Sialkot, Gujrat, Sheikhupura, Ferozewala, Jhang, Okara, Rahimyar Khan, Kasur, Burewala, Chiniot, Hafizabad, Kamoke, Muzaffargarh, Jhelum, Muridke, Sadiqabad and Murree.

Some 234 Municipal Committees; all cities between 25,000 and 250,000 inhabitants will have independent LGs. About 50+ urban agglomerations were upgraded. Union Council, the basic unit of LG has been restored and financially strengthened; 10 percent of PFC will flow to UCs enabling them to carry out basic development and community needs at local level. Approximately Rs 55 billion will be allocated to UCs.

Tehsil Councils have been reinstated to carry out basic municipal duties in rural Punjab. Vice Chairmen of UCs shall be Tehsil Council members. Town Councils were created in 5 largest cities of Punjab. Town Councils & Tehsil Councils to ensure parity in basic municipal services. 10 provincial departments have been devolved to district level LGs: Primary Health & Preventive Health, Primary Education, Social Welfare, Family Planning, Sports & Recreation, Public Transport & Transport Planning, Civil Defense, Public Health (WASH), Arts & Culture, Tourism.

Council system restored at all levels of LGs in line with Pakistan’s parliamentary democratic structure to ensure effective democratic governance and strong checks and balances in line with parliamentary democracy practiced at provincial and national levels.

Introduction of defection clause to strengthen political parties at the local level and discourage horse-trading; election and removal of heads by show of hands, consistent with provincial and national legislatures.

Fiscal strengthening of LGs: 26 percent of General Revenue Receipts (GRR) in the first two years and 28 per cent of GRR from the third year onwards will be transferred directly to local governments (LGs). Approximately Rs 550 billion will be allocated to LGs.

Women members will have up to 33 percent representation in higher tiers of LGs. All LG tiers will have increased seats reserved for youth, technocrats, religious minorities and differently-abled citizens.

Administrative autonomy of Mayors and LG heads enhanced; Mayors and Chairpersons will interview a panel of officers for selection as Chief Officer and will have the power to surrender them back to the Punjab LG Board in case of poor performance.

District Municipal Forum: A municipal coordination forum created at the district level to foster teamwork and collaboration among LGs, Civil Administration, Police, and other government agencies.

City/District/Tehsil/Town Cabinet: LGs heads will be able to form a cabinet to support functions, with one-third of the cabinet consisting of technocrats/specialists.