LAHORE: The second round of the ‘Consultations and Research on Local Governance in Punjab’ project was held at the Centre for Public Policy & Governance (CPPG), a public policy centre in Forman Christian College.
A collaborative project between Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and CPPG, the two-day session was aimed at initiating dialogue amongst various stakeholders to strengthen the local government system in Punjab.
Former local representatives from across the province, who were elected in 2013 local bodies polls, were invited to share their experiences and lessons.
More than twenty representatives, including mayors, deputy mayors, chairmen of district councils and union councils as well as members elected on women, youth and minority reserved seats engaged in the discussion to identify constraints to service delivery, accountability and political participation and highlighted issues for reform and change which might be taken up by the government.
Additional Secretary Local Government & Community Development Department (LG&CDD) Shahid Zaman Laki inaugurated the session by highlighting the contrast between the Punjab Local Government Acts (PLGA) of 2013 and 2019.
In his address, CPPG Director Dr Saeed Shafqat welcomed the guests and pointed out the importance of local governance and the crucial role of elected officials and political parties in making the bureaucratic system work for the people.
Sanjeev Pokharel, Head of Programme of LoGo, GIZ, appreciated CPPG’s efforts in providing a neutral academic platform where diverse local government stakeholders with opposing perspectives confidently debated the state o local governments in Punjab.
As the session ended on Thursday, the guests agreed on the importance of an enhanced legislative and financial autonomy of the local government, to legislate dual vote for the minorities, and to align the local government’s tenure with federal and provincial governments’ tenure.