Improving local governance in Pakistan

Project description 

Title: Support to Local Governance (LoGo II) Programme
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Pakistan
Lead executing agency: Economic Affairs Division
Overall term: 2020 to 2022

SLG

Context

In 2010, the 18th amendment to the Pakistani constitution transferred a wide range of functions from federal to provincial level. By 2013, new local government acts (LGAs) had been enacted in two of the country’s four provinces - Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab. Subsequently, in 2019, the Pakistani Government introduced the local government reform initiative, making fundamental adjustments to the LGAs in both provinces. The new legislation transferred the responsibility of many government services to the sub-district or township (tehsil) level. However, Pakistan faces tough challenges in ensuring the smooth delivery of many essential public services through local governments due to very limited own-source revenue and annual budget deficits. Another exacerbating element is that the political participation of citizens in local governance is limited. These factors hamper the capacity of the local governments to provide quality public services.

Objective

The local governments in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab have the regulatory, personnel and financial prerequisites for the effective delivery of public services.

Approach

The “Support to Local Governance (LoGo II)” programme assists the KP and Punjab provincial governments in encouraging more political participation by citizens and improving the performance of local governments to effectively provide local services to citizens. It also supports the policy-reform process and works to develop local governments’ institutional capacities. Advisory services are provided to provincial tax departments and local governments so that they can better mobilise domestic resources.

The programme offers technical support to the local government departments and other relevant institutions in both provinces. The aim of this is to develop or revise existing regulations in view of the new laws on local governance so that service delivery can be improved. Work is also being done to build capacity among elected representatives and local government officials in terms of the new local governance laws. Special consideration is given here to the newly merged areas. These aims are achieved by developing new and innovative approaches to capacity development.

To enhance own-source revenue and improve domestic resource mobilisation in the two provinces, LoGo II supports the excise and taxation departments and the local government departments in bringing about property-tax reforms. It also assists local government departments and municipal administrations in developing models for improving municipal revenues. Moreover, inter-provincial exchange is promoted between the provincial revenue authorities to discuss and revise the regulatory framework of the Sales Tax on Services.

To improve citizen engagement with public service delivery, LoGo II encourages dialogue forums for close collaboration between elected representatives and administrative staff. It also supports information campaigns to raise citizens’ awareness of their right to services and right to information. These have a special focus on the communication needs of the marginalised population; particularly women and youth.

The implementing partners of LoGo II include the local government departments and revenue authorities as well as excise and taxation departments, the KP and Punjab Information Commissions and the Right to Services Commissions of both provinces.

Results

The programme has achieved the following to date:

  • Four rules and five model bylaws have been developed in Punjab, as well as planning, development, budgeting, and accounting rules at township-level governments in KP.
  • 141 newly inducted local government officers from Punjab have been trained so far using a compendium of training materials including (i) the Punjab Local Government Act (PLGA) 2019, (ii) the Punjab Village Panchayat & Neighbourhood Councils Act (PVP/NCA) 2019 and (iii) Rules & Model Bylaws.
  • 285 women attended a Women’s Khuli Kacheri (open court) in Nowshera District in KP and expressed their complaints about public-service delivery directly to representatives of the service providers.
  • Over 30,000 appointments have been booked though the online Appointment Management System launched by the Excise & Taxation Department (ETNCD) in Punjab.

Last update: February 2021