LAHORE : The Punjab government has decided to automate all local government functions before the introduction of the system in the province. Senior Punjab Minister Abdul Aleem Khan, on Monday, issued directions to officials concerned to initiate computerisation of all offices of the local government in Punjab.
He said the automation process will be completed before commencement of the new local government system in the province. Presiding over a high-level meeting, Aleem Khan ordered completion of on-job training for all employees working under the local government system. He said an online tablet based system will be introduced in Punjab to ensure efficiency and transparency in the minimum possible time.
The senior minister highlighted that computerisation would directly help monitor the day-to day working of local government institutions across Punjab and minimise corruption. He also directed officials concerned to devise a financial audit model, besides a system of third-party evaluation of local government account every two years.
Through this comprehensive audit mechanism, strict monitoring will be ensured and zero tolerance will be adopted against corruption, he maintained. Aleem Khan directed senior officers of the local government department to chalk out a comprehensive plan for revamping the department across Punjab.
“It will help eradicating such loopholes in the system which may damage the performance of the new local government institutions,” he said. In the light of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s orders, he said the best possible local government system is being introduced in Punjab. After consultation and deliberations with different stakeholders, recommendations had been prepared and soon the new system would be introduced across the province.
He expressed hope that the masses in Punjab would benefit from this new effective and efficient local government system. “It will help the common citizen get his problems solved at the local level,” he underlined. Aleem Khan said the political struggle of Prime Minister Imran Khan was based on the elimination of corruption. “The government is in the process of making foolproof arrangements to avoid pilferage of public money, besides improving service delivery.”
Punjab Local Government Department Secretary Capt (retd) Saif Anjum briefed the minister that in the first phase, 30 municipal corporations would be included for computerization. He added their staff would be given training as well, while a total of 229 municipal corporations will be entertained. He told meeting participants that in Lahore, Faisalabad, Multan and Rawalpindi, arrangements will be made for on job training of employees. Trainers will also visit every office of the local government.
He indicated that this automation process will help senior officials to monitor functioning of local governments on a daily basis and it dramatically help improve the service delivery of local government institutions. In September, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government said it would overhaul the local government system in Punjab and give due administrative and financial autonomy to public representatives. At the time, Aleem said the PTI government would introduce effective and efficient grassroots administration in the province, unlike the “toothless” system currently in place.
Aleem stressed the new local government system would be built on a party basis as mayors or head of tehsils and districts would be elected directly. The senior minister said legal experts were evaluating different options of whether the existing local government system could be altered or if it a new setup had to be established. “Currently, we are considering the Local Government Act 2001 and the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) model. A presentation will be given to the prime minister and a future strategy will be evolved after getting recommendations from the team of experts.”
Responding to a question, Aleem said that there should be no political interference in the working of the departments. He added it was clear that the writ of the government had to be established and elected representatives should possess complete authority to assess public interest.