PESHAWAR: Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan on Sunday granted his in-principle approval to a proposed draft for a new local government structure in the province.
“The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa local government model is more suitable and applicable for efficient governance at the lowest tier of service delivery,” Mahmood said while presiding over a high-level meeting to review the proposed local government law at his office at the CM Secretariat in Peshawar on Sunday.
The meeting was briefed about the proposed local government act, the amendments proposed in it, the ratio of the neighbourhood council, the councillors, the village and neighbourhood councillors, the mechanism and the allied reforms for the elections.
It also reviewed the local government structures of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Punjab in order to bring uniformity in the system of governance at the local level.
The CM said that the reforms agenda was designed to make the local governance system in the province more effective and provide a forward for durable and strong institutions at the lowest tier of governance to address issues of the public at their doorstep.
Expressing satisfaction over the proposed structure of local government, the chief minister directed for greater clarity between tehsil and tehsil councils so that there is no overlap in the functions and responsibilities.
He also directed for a systematic mechanism for the elections of tehsil members. The collective aim is to install an efficient governance system at the local level in order to resolve citizens’ grievances effectively at their doorstep, he added.
Mahmood added that the local government system would enable the public to formulate their own developmental strategy by providing a more participatory approach. The meeting was informed that the ratio of village councillors in all districts, including those merged from the tribal areas, was 86 per cent and the neighbourhood councillor ratios were 14 per cent.
Peshawar had been divided into tehsils, urban and rural, which were endorsed in the meeting.
The meeting also agreed to timelines for reforms and holding of local government elections. The draft was ready and was being examined after which it would be presented before the provincial cabinet at the end of February for approval.
Under the new law, the election rules will be framed in the middle of March and the election commission will start delimitation in April.
The meeting agreed to the proposal for phase-wise local body elections in the province as opposed to holding elections on a single day across the province which strains government systems.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 28th, 2019.