Monday September 25, 2023

Missing link

August 13, 2022

The passage of the 18th Amendment was a landmark achievement that transferred powers in a wide range of areas to the provinces. The federating units were expected to mimic the same framework by devolving powers to the third tier of governance, the local government (LG). Unfortunately, the provinces have failed miserably on this front, the LG representatives were not given authority and funds. Failure to institute a robust LG system is evident in the deteriorating situation of communication networks, law and order, and other municipal issues. The recent devastating monsoon rains have further substantiated the need for the LG as provincial and federal authorities failed to tackle the emergency.

LG is a community-based governance model that ensures the expeditious execution of projects. Moreover, the local representatives are easily accessible, so they are held accountable more often. In the absence of LG, elected members of the national and provincial assemblies are vested with authority and funds to look after municipal-level works at the cost of law-making, which is their core responsibility. In addition, the vacuum created is partly filled by unelected bureaucracy, which is neither accountable to citizens nor skilful enough to carry out the municipal affairs. Loopholes in the existing governance structure will be plugged, and affairs will be better handled after the LG is made fully functional.

Asad Aziz