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The way forward for economic development

Monday, November 04, 2013

Article by The Express Tribune

It is indeed a good move in a country where the autocratic form of government seems an integral part of the history. Unfortunately, local administration has a low share in economic development even during the rule of elected federal and provincial governments.

The devolution of power is vital for removing a sense of deprivation and achieving economic development and prosperity at the local level. Formation of an effective local administrative structure aimed at decentralising administrative and financial authority, good governance, effective delivery of services and transparent decision-making through institutionalised participation of people at the grass roots level is the only way forward for a poverty-stricken country like Pakistan.

Indeed, the seventh National Finance Commission Award in 2009 was a landmark achievement when all provinces reached consensus after a long time over distribution of the country’s financial resources among themselves as well as with the federation.

Although the Centre has devolved powers to provinces after the 18th Constitutional Amendment, it will not produce desired results until the formation of local bodies with financial autonomy in its entirety. The NFC Award is just an arrangement for resource-sharing between the Centre and the provinces, but the third tier of the government – local bodies – does not come within its purview, which is actually concerned with devolution along with financial autonomy.

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