June 14; In a PILDAT organised online briefing/course on Overview of the Federal Budget 2020-2021, speakers and participating Parliamentarians highlighted the need of Parliament to assert itself in the formulation of budget policy.
Mr. Nohman Ishtiaq, an expert in the field of Public Finance, presented key ingredients of the Federal Budget 2020-2021. He shed light on the current budget policy, what are some key numbers (facts and figures), what are key challenges and most importantly, what is the role of Parliament in the budget process.
Lead Commentators included Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA and Former Federal Finance Minister, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, MNA and Former Punjab Finance Minister and Mr. Faiz Ullah, MNA and Chairperson of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs.
Chairperson of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance informed the audience that he has submitted in the National Assembly the following proposed amendments that were deliberated and agreed upon in a previously organised PILDAT discussion on Parliamentary Budget Process (held online on May 21, 2020):
- Amend the Public Finance Management Act 2019 to obligate the Federal Government to share Budget Strategy Paper with Standing Committees of the National Assembly and the Senate on Finance before its approval by the Federal Cabinet
- Amend Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly to give powers to standing committees to review budget after its presentation in the Assembly
- Amend Constitution Article 84 making it mandatory for government to seek prior Assembly approval for supplementary grants
Participants of yesterday’s briefing included lawmakers and office bearers of political parties including Mr. Attaullah Tarar, Deputy Secretary General PML-N, Mr. Haider Zaman Qureshi, Central Secretary Finance PPP, Ms. Shaza Fatima Khawaja, MNA PML-N, Mr. Bilal Azhar Kayani, Assistant Secretary General PML-N, Senator Dr. Musadik Malik, PML-N, Senator Ayesha Raza Farooq, Chair, Senate Committee on Rules of Procedure and Privileges, PML-N, Mr. Malik Muhammad Ahmed, MPA PML-N, Senator Nauman Wazir Khattak, PTI, Rana Iradat, MNA PML-N, Syed Murtaza Mahmud, MNA PPP, Ms. Mehnaz Akbar Aziz, MNA PML-N and Mr. Ahmad Kundi, Member PPP.
Other participants who joined the course included Mr. Intikhab Alam, Student, Syed Ali Abbas Shah, Web-developer, Ms. Qurat ul Ain Ismail, Political Specialist at US Consulate, Karachi, Mr. Mohsin Khawaja, Digital Marketeer and Mr. Muhammad Zaid Rafiq, Deputy Director Legislation at the National Assembly Secretariat.