In a PILDAT organized online course on Parliament and the Purse Strings, speakers and participating MPs highlighted the negligible role of Parliament in influencing and scrutinizing federal budget and agreed that multi-party consensus is required to enhance Parliament’s role in the Federal Budget process.
Power of the purse or control on purse strings is one of the most crucial powers of an elected parliament over a country’s budget and its public expenditure. This power and its effective use become all the more essential in a developing country like Pakistan struggling with economic management of inadequate resources. With the new dynamic of dealing with COVID-19, this power has taken an all new centrality.
In the PILDAT Online Short Course on Parliament and the Purse Strings speakers and participants discussed that due to key issues relating to rules and duration of the budget process, Pakistan’s Parliament is unable to fully utilise the power of scrutiny of federal budget.
There is lack of consensus on reforming the parliamentary budget process among the parliamentarians which must change in order to strengthen Parliament’s effectiveness.
Syed Naveed Qamar, MNA and Former Federal Minister delivered a keynote presentation on required reforms in Pakistan’s Parliamentary Budget Process. The opening presentation on Parliamentary Budget Process in Pakistan was made by Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT.
Lead discussants included Chairperson of the National Assembly Standing Committee on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Faiz Ullah, MNA along with members of the committee, Dr. Aisha Ghaus Pasha, MNA and Ali Pervaiz Malik, MNA.
Other participants who joined the course included: Ms. Lauren Waugh, Second Secretary at Australian High Commission, Mr. Ali Abbas, an engineer, Mr. Aurang Zaib Ashraf, Advocate High Court Lahore, Ms. Kiran Sheikh, Lecturer at IBA Hyderabad, Mr. Ali Ahmed Palh, Advocate High Court Sindh, Mr. Tayyab Mansoor Nawaz, Student, Ms. Fatima Haider, Ms. Alishae Khar, Senior Research Analayst at Urban Unit Punjab, Ms. Nida Mahmood, Researcher, Mr. Shahnawaz Mangrio, Deputy Manager Legal at Port Qasim Authority and Mr. Mohsin Khawaja, Digital Marketeer.
Participants also made recommendations for policy makers including for Government, Parliament and Political Parties on reforming the parliamentary budget process in Pakistan.