The Provincial Assembly of Punjab hosted the annual Pre Budget Seminar organized by Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services and Subai EU Project for the Honorable Members of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab on May 23, 2017 in Members Cafeteria. Beginning with the recitation of the Holy Quran the seminar preceded the annual budget in the national parliament. It was aimed at providing the MPAs the opportunity to better delve into the foundations as well as key issues and processes regarding the budget activity. The packed MPs cafeteria with over 100 participants including 56 (fifty six MPAs from all parliamentary parties) attended the four hour event inaugurated and chaired by Honourable Speaker Provincial Assembly of Punjab Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan. Leader of Opposition MPA Mahmood ur Rashid and parliamentary party leaders of all parties also participated in the interactive event.
On behalf of the President PIPS BoG/Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, and the Executive Director PIPS, Mr Zafar Ullah Khan, founding Director Research & IT PIPS, Mr Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka, welcomed the participants and acknowledged the unwavering support provided by the Honorable Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab, Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, in the success of the seminar as well as carrying out its mandated activities through its satellite office in the Provincial Assembly. He also introduced PIPS PRC Team in Lahore Qaiser, Amna and Obaid who have helped PIPS extend legislative and research services to MPAs since Dec., 2016 in addition to holding five meetings of the Parliamentary SDGs Taskforce in the Punjab. Mr Zaka also acknowledged Ms Donna Bugby-Smith, Team Leader Subai, for her close cooperation with PIPS. Ms. Nazia Fayyaz Deputy Team Leader Subai EU Project narrated the project objectives and introduced provincial coordinator Asfa Khan. She also reiterated Subai’s commitment to work in unison with Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) as the centre of parliamentary excellence.
The Guest of Honor Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha Minister for Finance Punjab delved into the challenges and opportunities for the province of Punjab in relation to the National Finance Commission. She reiterated that Punjab province is first to prepare a budget and development strategy based on three priorities Agriculture, Education and Health in addition to focus on “inclusive growth,” to ensure well being of people and every strata of Pakistan as aspired by country’s founding fathers. She lauded PIPS efforts in research-based informed seminar. She also informed that 7th National Finance Commission was result of statesmanship by the province of Punjab that gave greater share in favor of smaller provinces to strengthen country’s federation and trigger an inclusive development in all parts of Pakistan. She explained the evolution and imperative effectiveness of NFCs to streamline resources.
Her speech was followed by an absorbing session on “Key economic challenges facing Pakistan’s economy with special focus on Provincial economy of Punjab” led by Dr. Waseem Shahid Malik. An Associate Professor of Economics, he is currently serving as SBP Honorary Chair in the University of Balochistan. With decades of experience at hands, Secretary Provincial Assembly of Punjab Rai Mumtaz Hussain Babar spoke on Budget in relation to the Business of the House and Rules of Procedure during the second session. The revenue side of the budget was aptly covered by Dr Raheel Ahmad Siddiqui Chairman Punjab Revenue Authority during the third session which was dedicated to deliberate on the opportunities and challenges of revenue generation by the province of Punjab.
In order to create ease for analyzing the budget documents an absorbing and focused session was conducted by Mr Haider Abbas Additional Director PIPS regarding budget allocations and sectoral expenditure till April 30, 2017 that called for better implementation of development schemes by government departments. Lastly, the gender-based budgeting became the focus of discussion during the final session led by Dr Kais Aslam Professor of Economics University of Central Punjab. He gave a broad overview of the social sector allocation and outcomes in this regard. As per PIPS tradition the worthy participants were given ample opportunity to raise questions during the Q&A session. Mr Muhammad Rizwan Manzoor took the lead in moderating the seminar, which concluded with vote of thanks to the worthy participants.
Honourable Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan lauded the efforts of Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) that remains a national centre of parliamentary excellence. He said parliamentarians are proud to have created PIPS as a symbol of professional research and capacity building initiatives. He asked MPs and participants to give standing ovation to PIPS PRC team and expecially YPSE Ms Amna for her untiring efforts. Director Research and IT, PIPS, thanked all MPs and Honourable Speaker for his unflinching patronage of PIPS since its creation in 2010. He also presented PIPS momentoes to Honourable Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal Khan, Leader of Opposition MPA Mr Mahmood ur Rashid and Guest of Honour Dr Ayesha Ghaus Pasha, Minister of Finance, Punjab.