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> PILDAT Writes to Speaker National Assembly to operationalise new Assembly Rule on Budgetary Review by Standing Committees
   
  • Ministries bound to send PSDP Budget proposals 2014-15 to National Assembly Standing Committees for scrutiny before January 31;
  • Ministries will be liable for breach of Assembly privilege if they don't send budget by end-January;
  • Speaker National Assembly should ensure compliance of the amended Assembly Rules: PILDAT Letter to Speaker NA
 

January 28, 2014
Islamabad

   

Islamabad; January 28, PILDAT, in a letter, has asked the National Assembly Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, MNA, to make sure that various Federal Ministries submit their PSDP Budget proposals for the year 2014-2015 to the respective Standing Committees of the National Assembly for scrutiny and recommendations for modifications.

 
 

PILDAT reminded in the letter that through a key reform passed by the outgoing 13th National Assembly, the Standing Committees of the Assembly have been empowered to scrutinize and suggest amendments, and recommend their concerned Ministry’s Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the next financial year before the same is sent to the Ministry of Finance for inclusion in the Federal Budget for the next financial year.

 
 

This change in rules now means that each ministry is supposed to submit its budgetary proposals relating to Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the next financial year not later than the 31st January each year to the concerned Standing Committee of the National Assembly while the Standing Committees are required to make recommendations latest by 1st March on the budget back to the Ministry.

 
 

On an amendment moved by a private member of the then-opposition belonging to the PML-N, Ms. Anusha Rehman Khan, MNA, the 13th National Assembly had passed the following amendment in its rules on January 29, 2013:

 
 

"Amendment in rule 201:- That in the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly, 2007, in rule 201, after sub-rule (5), the following new sub-rule (6), shall be added, namely:-
"(6) Each Standing Committee shall scrutinize and suggest amendments, if necessary, and recommend Ministry's Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the next financial year before the same is sent to the Ministry of Finance for inclusion in the Federal Budget for the next financial year. Each Ministry shall submit its budgetary proposals relating to Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) for the next financial year to the relevant Standing Committee not later than the 31st January of preceding financial year and the Standing Committee shall make recommendations thereon not later than the 1st March of the preceding financial year:
Provided that where such recommendations are not made by the 1st March, the same shall be deemed to have been endorsed by the Standing Committee."

 
 

PILDAT said that this amended rule was to be implemented in the Budget for the financial year 2013-14 but since the new Government had just then assumed the charge, there was no time to implement this rule. This year, the budget for the year 2014-15 will therefore be the first year when this significant change in the rules will come into play.

 
 

PILDAT wrote to the speaker that “we hope that various Ministries have already submitted their budgetary proposals for the next financial year to the National Assembly Standing Committees. Since there is nothing in the media regarding this, we are not sure that this has happened. May we request you to kindly remind the Ministries of this requirement and kindly alert the Standing Committees for undertaking the scrutiny etc as provided for in the amended rules. We are quite sure that the National Assembly Secretariat and your office must already be taking necessary action in this regard but we thought we may also bring this to your kind attention”.

 
 

PILDAT has sent copies of the letter to Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, MNA, Syed Khurshid Ahmad Shah, MNA, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly, and Secretary of the National Assembly. PILDAT has also written to the Chairpersons of key Standing Committees urging them to review the Budget proposals of their ministries.

 
 

PILDAT has also urged that chairpersons of the remaining standing committees be elected expeditiously so that these may also become functional and play their role in the scrutiny of the next budget.

Chairpersons have not been elected for the National Assembly Standing Committees for Cabinet Secretariat, Finance and Inter-Provincial Coordination despite the lapse of more than seven months since the Assembly took oath.