Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government officials and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leadership have informally approved the rules of business for the local government (LG) system. Government representatives and the PTI central leadership held a meeting under the chairmanship of Imran Khan at the K-P House Islamabad on Saturday that went well into the night.
K-P Local Government and Rural Development (LG&RD) Minister Inayatullah Khan told The Express Tribune the proposed rules of business have been approved in the meeting and will be officially notified soon. “The rules of business are not something infallible,” he added.
Agreements and verdicts
Inayatullah said it was decided to form a review committee to resolve the issues of nazims. The MPAs raised concerns over the granting of power to the nazim, a matter will be discussed in more detail at upcoming sittings of the house.
The pay cheque
Regarding the salaries of nazims of all the three tiers, Inayatullah said the government has approved Rs60,000 as the salary for district nazim, Rs50,000 for district naib nazim, Rs40,000 for tehsil nazim, Rs30,000 for tehsil naib nazim, Rs20,000 for village council nazim and Rs15,000 for village council naib nazim.
According to one of the participants at the meeting, “The finance department will release Rs42 billion to the LG department without further delay.”
It was decided that Provincial Finance Commission (defined and described in the Local Government Act 2013) chaired by the finance minister will soon be established to give guidelines to LG representatives for utilising allotted funds.
While the government will give full autonomy to the nazims, they will be assisted by people who have more technical knowledge about running the office.
Guidance for nazims
“The nazims are new and have no experience of technical issues, therefore, this will be a helpful move - for the nazims as well as for the administration,” a participant of the Saturday night meeting said.
It was decided the district nazim will be autonomous but will be guided by deputy commissioners, assistant commissioners, additional deputy commissioners and engineers in different matters.
“The district nazim will be a member of the District Development Advisory Committee (DDAC) which will supervise development funds given to MPAs, but the MPAs will have no business in the funds given to the nazim who will exercise complete autonomy in utilising those funds,” he said. Nazims at all three tiers of the LG will use funds under the rules defined for them which include proper tendering of projects, and keeping checks and balances on the utilisation of funds. He added Imran Khan did not want the MPAs and MNAs to get involved in street and sanitation issues but rather, to focus on legislative matters.
It was also decided postings and transfers in the districts and tehsils will be made under the existing rules formed by the provincial government and the district government will have no say in this regard.
Nothing was decided regarding the possible reshuffling in the K-P cabinet in the presence of all the participants.
A participant, however, confirmed Minister for Information Mushtaq Ghani—who is expected to be affected by the reshuffling—was not present at the meeting. “After the three-hour-long meeting, the chief minister and Imran Khan went to a separate room and I do not know the details of that closed-door meeting,” he said.
Saturday’s meeting at K-P House in Islamabad was attended by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Minister for Health Shahram Khan Tarakai, Minister for Education Atif Khan, Minister for Revenue and Estate Ali Amin Gandapur, Minister for Finance Muzaffar Said, PTI leaders Jahangir Tareen, Saifullah Niazi and Asad Umar. The K-P Chief Secretary and other administrative secretaries were also present at the meeting. One of the participants seeking anonymity, said, “Imran called the meeting to generally review the performance of K-P government.”
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2015.
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