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> Provincial Ministers and Senior Government Officials brief the Punjab MPAs on the forthcoming Budget 2011-2012
Briefing Session
January 13, 2011


Lahore, January 13: Punjab MPAs got a chance to make contributions into the upcoming annual budget of Punjab and the Annual Development Programme (ADP) through a Pre-Budget Briefing Session organized by PILDAT in association with the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab. The objective of the PILDAT Pre-Budget Briefing was to provide an overview of the current budget process, the upcoming Budget and the Annual Development Programme (ADP) for the year 2011-2012 to enable the Hounourable MPAs to contribute more effectively during the planned Pre-Budget Session of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab.


Speakers at the Pre-Budget Briefing Session included Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Secretary Department of Finance, Government of the Punjab, Mr. Javed Aslam, Chairman, Planning and Development, Government of the Punjab and Mr. Mohsin Leghari, MPA. Honourable Rana Sanaullah Khan, MPA and Provincial Minister of Law and Mr. Tanvir Ashraf Kaira, MPA, Provincial Minister for Finance, co-chaired the Briefing Session.


Over 60 MPAs and staff of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab and Ministry of Finance and Planning and Development Department actively participated in the pre-budget briefing session. PILDAT also circulated the report of the previous pre-budget session held last year on January 21, 2010.


Speaking on parameters determining the upcoming Budget 2011-12, Mr. Tariq Bajwa, Secretary, Department of Finance, Government of the Punjab briefed the members about the constitutional provisions, budget cycle, revenue sources and expenditure categories. Mr. Bajwa highlighted that a greater fiscal space will be available for the province in the coming budget in the 7th NFC award as it was not available in the previous budget due to the steep increase of 50% in the salaries of the government employees.


Presenting an overview of the Punjab Planning and Development Department Mr. Javed Aslam, Chairman, Planning and Development, elaborated the vision, priorities and determinants of the Annual Development Programme (2011-12). He said that the three main strategies consisted developmental, social and production strategies. He also gave a detailed briefing on the recommendations made by the MPAs in the current budget and informed that a majority of the recommendations made by the MPAs were included in the budget 2010-2011. He further said that the recommendations by the MPAs will form the basis of the next annual development plan (ADP). In his remarks he also said that the recommendations made by the MPAs were not only limited to their constituencies but also took into account the overall scenario of the economy.


Mr. Tanwir Ashraf Kaira, MPA, Provincial Minister for Finance, said that the Government had taken a lot of steps to curtail government expenditures. He also emphasised that the revenue base needs to be increased. Tax collection needs to be improved and he asked the MPAs for their suggestions in this regards.


Discussing how can members of the Punjab Assembly make effectively contribution to the preparation of provincial budget and the ADP, Rana Sanaullah Khan, MPA, Provincial Minister for Law, said that effective contribution to the budget process is one of the major responsibilities of an elected representative. Unfortunately in previous regimes, the role of legislators had been reduced to rubber-stamp the budget. He emphasized that this pre-budget session, 5 months before the budget, provides an excellent opportunity to MPAs to make their practical contributions in time for inclusion in the budget. He thanked PILDAT for publishing the last year’s pre-budget recommendation and said that they served as guideline for the Government. He said that the Government has fixed four days for the pre-budget discussion in the house and all the members will be given a chance to make recommendations to the budget and if need be the pre-budget debate can be extended to another week. He thanked PILDAT for taking the initiative and requested PILDAT to record and print the recommendations made by the MPAs during the coming pre-budget session in the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab.


Mr. Mohsin Khan Leghari, MPA, stressed on the need for making the committees of the house more effective and was of the opinion that without the committees playing a meaningful role in the budget process the discussion in the full house will not be effective.