RAWALPINDI: Financial activities of the district government continue to be adversely affected due to the post of the Executive District Officer (Finance and Planning) lying vacant for the last three years.
A senior officer of the Rawalpindi district government, while talking to The Express Tribune, said the Finance and Planning department usually releases its budget call letter in July but this year the letter could not even be issued in September due to unavailability of the EDO. He said this is a violation of the budget rules which led to the district budget 2014-15 to be presented in July instead of June.
The vacancy has badly affected finance and budget preparation activities in the district.
“The seat has been lying vacant for the last three years as the government claims it is searching for a competent officer to be appointed on a permanent basis,” said the official.
According to the Punjab tehsil and district budget rules, 2003, EDO Finance is responsible to prepare the budget but due to the unavailability of the officer, the budget could not be prepared on time.
It is due to the officer’s absence that websites of 25 districts, including Rawalpindi, are non-functional and the budget documents could not be uploaded for public awareness. Budget documents are available only on websites of six district governments which were prepared by CPDI, a private organisation.
Due to the non-functional websites, voters have no participation in government activities and projects being launched, neither do they know the development schemes that have been approved in their areas.
Rawalpindi district was ranked 19 in terms of transparency, performance, people’s participation and preparation of budget documents in a recent survey.
District Coordination Officer Sajid Zafar Dal said he has moved a summary to the Services and General Administration Department and the EDO finance and planning should be appointed in 10 days.
He said due to the unavailability of the EDO, they are facing problems in running the financial activities, but he along with other competent officers, including the additional deputy commissioner general (ADCG), are running the department’s affairs. He said the ADCG is looking after the affairs of Rawal Town and has experience of running financial affairs.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2014.