Participants at a pre-budget workshop called for developing a need-based system of allocating budgets to districts. They criticised the present trend of “impartial budget allocations”, adding that it has created a sense of alienation among various districts.
The Pre-budget Workshop 2012-13 was jointly organised by Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s finance and planning and development departments, in collaboration with the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).
Ali Asghar Khan, a senior leader of Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI), accused the government of allocating funds earmarked for Hazara and southern districts to the districts of its choice. “Funds allocated for scholarships were spent in Mardan, while funds earmarked for development of Hazara were diverted to other various districts,” said Khan.
Khan’s claims were endorsed by other participants, such as Rashida Dohad, a social activist, who presented a report on how the flood-hit area of Kohistan in Hazara was ignored in the last budget.
Meanwhile, Environmentalist Sardar Taimoor stressed the need to increase funding to promote food security, economic protection, agriculture development, and tourism in the next budget.
Prof Shah Jehan of Government Postgraduate College Haripur suggested improvements in the education sector. He said that remote districts like Kohistan are often ignored during allocation of the development budget, resulting in poor literacy rate, health issue, and lack of basic facilities in these areas.
K-P Secretary Finance Sahibzada Saeed and Secretary Planning and Development Khalid Aziz clarified that although budgetary allocation are made based on its population and underdevelopment, umbrella projects are initiated depending on the immediate needs of district. They, however, agreed that the trend should be discouraged.
They said that participation of society and improved governance were imperative for transparency and better service delivery at the district level.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2012.
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