Stakeholders’ Inclusion In Budget-Making Process Urged

Participants in a seminar on "Analysis of Education and Health Budget" of district Peshawar have stressed the need for participation of local community and relevant stakeholders in the budget-making process, urging the budgetary allocation should be made as per need-assessment basis in both education and health sector.

Most of the participants, including officials of provincial health, education departments and representatives from civil society, private-sector school management also emphasised on output and outcome based budgeting for public sector, which would ensure optimum use of taxpayers' money. They echoed the findings and recommendation mainly pertaining to active involvement of community, civil society, parents while finalising budget proposal.

The seminar was organized by the Centre for Governance and Public Accountability (CGPA), a non-governmental organisation, aimed at giving input from various stakeholders about its recent analysis and finding of Education and Health Budget in district Peshawar, here at a hotel on Wednesday.

The CGPA analysis study recommended the improvement in the budget-making process, and allocation. The seminar revealed findings of analysis done for Peshawar district, including introduction of school based budgeting, improvement of school governance through PTAs and community at large. Another crucial point brought up in the seminar was the discrepancy between allocation of budget for male and female education. In the education budget of district Peshawar, which is specifically gender sensitive budgeting sector, allocation for female education is continually substantially less than what is allocated for male education.

On the occasion Komal Khalid, Programme Officer (Budget Watch), CGPA stated that it was imperative that people try to engage with public officials in the process of budget making for education department, which forms the basis of policy. She also pointed out that even though the budget for education has shown increase, budget for operations still remain minimum. Zahoor Khan Executive Director of CGPA, while giving a presentation on Health Budget of Peshawar District said the pervious year's budget was brought forward with even increase or decrease and no consideration was made about the needs of different health facilities. It was suggested that community health mobilization be encouraged at village and union council level so that the poor and remote area can get better access to health facilities, he added.

Moreover, he said the budget should be so designed that it ensures quality health services at BHUs and RHCs at District level. The allocation of funds for repair and maintenance of health facilities also need to be increased as the present trend of low allocation decreases the lifespan of high priced medical equipment which results to wastage of taxpayers' money.