Support to Local Governance

Project description 

Title: Support to Local Governance Programme (LoGo)
Commissioned by: The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Pakistan
Lead executing agency: Economic Affairs Division
Overall term: 2017 to 2019

Context

The Government of Pakistan is committed to achieving effective, transparent, accountable and demand-driven public service delivery for its citizens. The adoption of the 18th Constitutional Amendment in 2010 and the introduction of new local government systems in all four provinces in 2013 have opened up fresh opportunities for improving public service delivery. This includes promoting local development and fostering citizen participation in decision-making, particularly amongst poor and vulnerable groups, women and youth.

With new local government systems having been re-established in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, their newly elected representatives require support as they familiarise themselves with their tasks. In particular, they need to build their knowledge and understanding of local government affairs and learn how best to handle their roles and responsibilities. Existing rules and regulations need to be updated to reflect the new distribution of responsibilities between the provincial and local levels and between elected representatives and public officials.

Following the devolution of power, provincial tax authorities now have the additional responsibility of collecting sales tax on services – an additional source of revenue local governments rely on. However, given the citizens’ lack of trust in the state, any attempts to generate income in this way are challenging. To build up trust and state-citizen relations, it is crucial for all stakeholders to improve their interactions. Recent legal reforms, such as the Right to Information Act, provide a way forward by giving citizens and the media new tools for accessing information and securing accountability from public institutions.

Objective

Newly established local government systems and dialogue-based service delivery in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab meet citizens’ needs efficiently.

Approach

Building on the results of the Support to Good Governance Programme (SGGP) and Support to Development Planning (SDP) project, the LoGo programme advises its partners on ways of improving local government service delivery in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. Programme intervention centres on strengthening local governance, increasing subnational revenue and on improving state-citizen dialogue.

Using a multi-level and multi-stakeholder approach, the programme is supporting local government departments to perform and fulfil their functions in line with the Local Government Acts. Specifically, it is assisting them to revise existing rules and regulations and to review the consultative processes involved in formulating and implementing development plans and annual budgets. The programme also features tailor-made capacity building programmes for provincial and local administrations. This includes elected councillors and female councillors in particular.

With its focus on improving tax collection and tax revenue, the programme is assisting the tax authorities in both provinces to develop and improve their administrative regulations and processes. It is also advising the tax authorities on ways of enhancing their organisational and institutional capacity.

To make provincial and local administrations more accountable, the programme is working to improve dialogue between citizens and the state. This involves building organisational capacity at the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Information Commissions. Furthermore, besides piloting mechanisms designed to provide citizens with access to information, the programme is also creating platforms that will enable direct dialogue between decision-makers, citizens, media and civil society organisations.

The programme’s implementing partners include local government departments and revenue authorities as well as excise and taxation departments, including the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab Information Commissions.