Consultation on open and participatory budgeting

Mandi Bahauddin: A district level consultancy on “open and participatory budgeting” was held here the other day at office of Assistant Director Local Government.

People from different walks of life including government officials attended the seminar. Addressing the seminar DO Finance Zaheer ud

Din Babur Warriach highlighted budget process involving various stages.

He said that common citizen does not know about the district budget nor does he participate in budget making. There is a need to aware the citizens about importance of their involvement in the budget process at each stage.

He said that in the Punjab LG Act 2013 this omission has been taken care of and local government bodies elected in coming election would allow citizens participation in each stage of budget making process. He urged citizens to take interest and offer their suggestions to local bodies of their respective areas in planning and execution of development schemes and budget making. This is their democratic right and citizens should do it for better functioning of LG institutions, he stressed.

Assistant Director Local Government in his speech praised efforts of organization Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) for conducting study on the ‘process of budget making in Punjab’ and pointing out some disturbing trends in budget formulation.

Earlier Sharif Zahid, District President SHAPE briefed the participants regarding the budget making process. He said during a survey it was learnt that district level budget was made behind closed doors and rules for making budget were ignored.

The citizens’ participation was completely ignored. He urged the district Government to involve citizens at each stage of budget making process by accepting their suggestions and proposals. Lack of citizens’ participation and interest in budget making would not bring development and progress in the district, he added.