Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



New Local Government System: A Step Towards Community Empowerment?

Failure of the central/provincial governments to adequately capture local preferences and provide basic services strengthened the case for a new local government system for delivery of public services along with the authority to impose fees, taxes, user charges, etc. to finance these services. The new System aims at transferring political, administrative and fiscal powers1 from higher tiers of the government to lower tiers (Figure 1) in order to bring governments closer to common citizens for greater accountability and better understanding of the needs and preferences of people. National Reconstruction Bureau (NRB) was entrusted the task of designing a local government system which presented its first blue print in the form of “Devolution Plan 2000”. As a result of this exercise a new Local Government System has been installed in Pakistan on 14th August 2001 after the promulgation of Local Government Ordinance 2001 by all the four Provinces. The new System comprises a District Government or a City District Government and Zila Council in a district, Tehsil Municipal Administration and Tehsil Council in a tehsil (a Town Municipal Administration and Town Council in a town in a city district) and Union Administration and Union Council in a union. Village/Neighbourhood councils provide an interface with the lowest tier of the Local Government (Union Administration) with the community.

Zulqarnain Hussain Anjum