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> PILDAT issues Budget Session Roundup of the National Assembly
Budget Roundup
July 15, 2008

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  • Budget Session saw improved Working Hours: National Assembly met on the Average for a little over 5 hours a day as compared to the average of less than 3 hours a day previously

  • Significant improvement in the participation level of MNAs in Budget Debate from Budget Session 2007: 68% MNAs participated in the Budget Debate as compared to 55% in 2007

  • 84% of Women MNAs participated in the Budget Debate as Compared to 76% Women MNAs in 2007

  • 18 % of the Membersí Questions answered as compared to 28% Questions Answered during Session 4

  • Negligible Time Consumed in Budget Sessions during past 10 Years


Islamabad, July 15: PILDAT has issued the Roundup of the 1st Budget Session of the 13th National Assembly of Pakistan commending the improvement in the working hours of the National Assembly that rose up from average working hours of less than 3 hours a day to a little over 5 hours a day during the Budget Session. PILDAT also recorded a significant improvement in the participation levels of MNAs in the Budget Debate 2008 that stood at 68% as compared to 55% during Budget Session of 2007. Out of a total of 76 Women MNAs, 64 participated in the budget debate which translates to 84 per cent participation rate, significantly higher than overall participation level of 68 %. During the 2007-08 Budget Session, women MNAsí participation rate was 76 %.


Although the Budget session saw no improvement in the number of days, 6 in total, in which general discussion was allowed on the budget and despite repeated demands, this year too, no formal or informal role of the Committees was allowed for in the budget session, the elected leadership of the 13th National Assembly managed the session well allowing 34% of the time in the budget debate to opposition MNAs which is slightly higher than their current strength of 27% in the National Assembly. Treasury members on the other hand used 66% of the time in budget debate against their strength of 73% in the House.


The National Assembly met for a total of 19 working days though the 5th session lasted for 23 days. The budget session in 2007 lasted for 11 working days. During the 19-days session, it only started on time 01 day while the session started late by less than 30 minutes for 08 out of 19 days and started late by more than 30 minutes for 10 out of 19 working days.


The Government introduced eight (08) bills during the session, passing only 1, the Finance Bill 2008-09, whereas the number of pending Government bills in the National Assembly has risen to 15 at the end of this session.


A total of 1448 questions were received during the session out of which 18 % (254 Questions) were answered whereas 388 questions were asked during the previous session out of which 28 % (109 Questions) were answered. The average percentage of questions answered during the past 5 years of the 12th National Assembly was (21 %).


The PILDAT Roundup carries an analysis of working days and hours of the 10 previous budget sessions from 1998-45%8 noting with regret that although control of the purse strings is one of the most crucial powers of the National Assembly, negligible time has been consumed in the Budget Sessions during the past 10 Years. During 1998-99 Budget debate, 17 hours were consumed; 13.10% hours were used during 1999-45%0; 09.40 hours were used in the budget debate of 45%3-04; in 45%4-05 45.32 hours were consumed; 34.20 hours in year 45%5-06 budget debate; 55.10% in 45%6-07; 45.22 hours in the 45%7-08 budget debate and 41.46 hours used in the budget debate of 45%8-09.


PILDAT however welcomed the decision of the new government announced by the Minister in-charge for Finance Syed Naveed Qamar while winding up the general debate in the House that the Government planned to begin budget deliberations in the house in future as early as March rather than June and that the expenditure part of the budget would be presented before the National Assembly in March for deliberations in different Standing Committees before the presentation of the final budget in June.