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> Short Course for Parliamentarians How to make effective contribution in the Parliamentary Budget Process?

June 3, 2006
Hotel Marriott, Islamabad


For Parliamentarians, the process of passing the federal budget is the most critical means of influencing the country’s economic policy. It should be the most effective tool for parliamentarians to hold government accountable, to ensure public oversight on spending and to provide for transparency in transactions. These views were expressed by Sherry Rehman, MNA at the short course for parliamentarians on “How to make effective contribution in the Parliamentary Budget Process” held by Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development And Transparency-PILDAT at the hotel Marriot, Islamabad yesterday How ever Parliament has been reduced to an expensive talking shape, where little oversight and even less decision making is possible by legislator. Ms. Sherry Rehman said that Parliamentarians should lobby for and represent the interest of their constituents in the committees as is done by members of Congress in the United States.


Senator Dilawar Abbas elaborating on the role of Parliamentarians stressed that the MPs must create cohesion among themselves across party lines and rise above their ego in order to play a more effective role. He said that the parliamentary committees are the more effective tool but their effective role depends on the committee chair and the members of the committee to make it most effective and to “open the eyes and ears of the government”. He pointed out that the parliamentarians are good for talking but their preparedness is poor- they need to do their home work so that they justify their role as MPs. He suggested the formation of joint committees of the Senate and National Assembly in areas such as foreign affairs and finance for playing a stronger role in parliament.


Ahsan Iqbal, former MNA and Deputy Chairman Panning Commission providing an overview of the parliamentary budgetary process in Pakistan said that currently Parliamentarians only play an exhibitionary role in the budget process in parliament- with only 6 days debate after the presentation of the budget. He said that there is no role of parliamentarians in the process of making budget in Pakistan before it is presented in parliament. He suggested that parliamentarians should be involved from at least 6 months prior to the presentation of the budget. The participants evinced a keen interest in the deliberations and discussions and compared the parliamentary budget process of other countries where participation of MPs starts many months before and debate goes on for many weeks after presentation of the budget.


Earlier Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director, PILDAT in his introduction stressed that there is a need to change the existing budgetary process in Parliament in order to make it more substantive, by bringing about changes in the rules of procedure and make MPs participation more meaningful and effective. Members of the Senate and National Assembly from all major parties attended the course.







(From left to right) Mohammad Sabir, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Makhdoom Ahmed Alam Anwar, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob


Participants at the Course


Participants at the Course


Participants at the Course


(From left to right) Ms. Sherry Rehman, Ms. Donya Aziz, Senator Dilwar Abbas


Participant receiving his certificate