PESHAWAR: Two five-day capacity-building workshops held in Peshawar brought together officers from Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) and devolved government departments from Bajaur and Mohmand districts to learn about budgeting processes for tehsil-level governance.
These workshops were organized through a collaborative effort between the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Merged Areas Governance Project (MAGP) of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
A total of 46 tehsil-level officials including officers from TMAs and nine devolved departments participated. This provided them with an opportunity to learn about the new budget rules; processes and roles and responsibilities under the KP Local Government (Amendment) Act 2019; Rules of Business; and the budget call circular.
Participants also gained hands-on experience in preparing development budgets and presenting them for approval in a series of simulation exercises designed to encourage inter-departmental coordination.
“Since the Local Government system has been established in the Merged Areas (MA) for the first time and several government departments have been devolved, training for making budgets for tehsil local government officers, including devolved offices and TMA, are important as it is something they have never done before,” said Zaheer ul-Islam Shah, KP Secretary for Local Government, Elections and Rural Development Department.
The workshops were held in close partnership with the KP local government department, with the objective of laying the groundwork for building strong and responsive local governance systems in MA. “We visited Bajaur and Mohmand to meet with representatives from TMAs and devolved departments to understand how we can better support them in running local governments effectively,” said UNDP MAGP Programme Manager Raluca Eddon.
“Going forward, we will be working closely with the LG department, the TMAs, district administrations, and of course, the village and neighbourhood councils to strengthen the local governance system.”
Reflecting on his experience at the training, TMA Officer Mohammad Javid Khan from district Mohmand said, “Other than gaining in-depth knowledge of the new two-tier government structure, I also appreciated how the workshops connected TMA officers and representatives of the devolved departments.”
He added that “previously there was ambiguity and frustration due to unfamiliarity and lack of information — the workshops brought us together and transformed us into a team — we now understand how to consolidate our efforts and make the highest impact for the people of the region.”