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Empowering Parliamentarians for Effective Budgetary Oversight: PILDAT Hosts Insightful Briefing Session


ISLAMABAD: PILDAT held a briefing session in Islamabad to enhance the understanding of the budgetary process among parliamentarians. The “Empowering Parliamentarians for Effective Budgetary Oversight” event brought together key figures to discuss necessary reforms for improving Pakistan’s parliamentary budget process.

Members of Parliament expressed their frustration that despite submitting over 200 recommendations on Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) proposals in the last decade, none were accepted, nor were reasons provided for their rejection. This is seen as a violation of the National Assembly Rules of Procedure & Conduct of Business.

Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President of PILDAT, presented an overview of Pakistan’s parliamentary budget process. He highlighted key steps including the Budget Strategy Paper, the role of Standing Committees in vetting PSDP proposals, and the presentation of the Annual Budget Statement in the National Assembly. He noted that each budget session typically lasts only 14 days with less than 45% of MNAs participating. He recommended five major changes to improve the budget process:

  1. Amend Article 84 to require National Assembly approval for supplementary grants.
  2. Amend the Public Finance Management Act 2019 to share the Budget Strategy Paper with Standing Committees before Cabinet approval.
  3. Empower Standing Committees to review the budget after its presentation in the Assembly.
  4. Review the implementation of NA Rule 201 (6) & (7) regarding PSDP reviews.
  5. Extend the parliamentary budget period from 14 to at least 30 and preferably 45 days.
  6. Require the Federal Government to present quarterly reports on budget execution to the Assembly.

Deputy Speaker Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah emphasized the need for parliamentary oversight to ensure fiscal responsibility. He called for an inclusive and transparent budget process and supported balancing executive dominance by empowering parliamentary committees and amending Article 84.

The session saw lively discussions, with members stressing the need for more development spending and better auditing of budget expenditures. They supported PILDAT’s recommendation to increase the budget deliberation period and called for gender analysis of the budget and public disclosure of budget tracking.

Omar Ayub Khan, Leader of the Opposition, endorsed PILDAT’s recommendations and highlighted the importance of empowered Standing Committees and efficient bureaucratic support.

The session was attended by prominent members of the National Assembly and Senate, including Honourable Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah, Mr. Omar Ayub Khan, Ms. Zeb Jaffar, and others. Members of the National Assembly Secretariat were also present.

Parliamentarians expressed a strong collective resolve to bring positive changes to Pakistan’s budgetary processes.

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