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> Parliamentarians strongly demand Pre-Budget Session; Complain about an ineffective Role of Parliament in the Budget Process
   Parliamentarians believe that:
  • Government promises to take Parliamentarians on board every year before the budget but does not honour its promise
  • Parliamentarians must play their role in oversight of departmental/ministerial Budget (Demands for Grants) in Standing Committees
  • Budget Strategy Paper-I, before it is discussed in the Cabinet in December, should be discussed in the Parliament
  • Standing Committees must play a role in holding Pre-Budget public consultations with the Public, Business and Civil Society.
  • Duration of the Budget Sessions in the Parliament must be increased
  • Parliamentarians must be included in the process at least three months prior to the Budget Debating Session
 
Briefing Session
May 5, 2010
Islamabad

   

Islamabad, May 05: Parliamentarians, across all political parties, including Ministers and State Ministers, demand a pre-budget session of the Parliament and complained that Parliament has a weak and ineffective role in Parliamentary budget process. Instead of sharing Budget Strategy Paper-I and II just with Cabinet and Parliamentary Committees on Finance, Parliament and all Parliamentary Committees should be briefed about these well in time. Members of Parliament expressed these views at a PILDAT Briefing Session on The New Budget Process in Pakistan: What Parliamentarians Should Know today.

 
 

“Every year the Government promises to take Parliamentarians on board before the budget session but every year it does not honour its promise,” complained MPs. “Cabinet only merely approves the budget without much control over it, complained Mr. Azam Swati, the federal minister for Science and Technology, while others believed that while federal cabinet approves the budget there exists a huge gap between plans and allocations and the new budget process should improve that system.

 
 

48 MNAs and 15 Senators from the PPPP, PML-N, PML, MQM and ANP including representatives from FATA participated in the PILDAT briefing including 5 Federal Ministers and 3 Ministers of State

 
 

Mr. Nohman Ishtiak, representative of the Ministry of Finance delivered a comprehensive presentation on the new budget management reform programme introduced by the Federal Government called the Medium-Term Budgetary Framework (MTBF). He explained that the upcoming Federal Budget will be based on the model known as ‘Medium-Term Budget Estimates by Service Delivery’ which would present 1 year budget and 2 years projections for services (outputs) delivered by each Ministry / Division. The services are also linked with outcomes (affects on target population) and with the performance indicators and targets. He said that MTBF has already been introduced in the countries such as United States of America, Canada, Australia, Great Britain, South Africa and Japan. Now for the first time Pakistan has taken initiative to implement MTBF in its budgetary process as well. Mr. Ishtiak said that Budget is a vital instrument at both the macro and micro level in Pakistan and MTBF aims to improve the budgetary process in Pakistan. He said that MTBF hopes to bring more accountability across the board.

 
 

The Federal Minister for Health, Makhdoom Shahabuddin, MNA and former Finance Minister, chaired the briefing session and conducted the Q&A session in the absence of Dr. Hafeez Shaikh, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance, who could not join the session.

 
 

The Briefing was organised by PILDAT as a part of the Parliamentary and Political Party Strengthening Project being executed by PILDAT in association with the Ottawa-based Parliamentary Centre with the support of Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.