The Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS), in collaboration with Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) organized Post Budget Orientation Seminar for Honorable Members of the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab on Wednesday, June, 16, 2021 at the Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore. The seminar is the annual tradition of the Institute since 2012 where experts on Budget, Economy and Finance brief the Honorable Members regarding different contours of the Finance Bill, State of Economy and Tips for Reading and Analyzing the Budget Documents. The seminar was attended by over thirty participants including 20 MPs and 10 Parliamentary Functionaries.
The seminar formally began with the recitation of the Holy Quran. Director General (Research) PIPS, Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka moderated the event. He welcomed the Honorable Members and expressed gratitude to the Honorable Members for their continued interest to the PIPS knowledge sharing events as well as extending their trust to the PIPS Budget Desk Services through seeking research assistance in shape of verbal and written commentary on Budget related subjects. Hon Minister Punjab Syed Yawar Bokhari, Provincial Minister for Baitul Maal and social welfare graced the occasion as the Chief Guest.
Mr. Inayat Ullah Lak, Director General (Parliamentary Affairs & Research), Provincial Assembly of the Punjab Secretariat, facilitated the first session where he explained the relevant provisions of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of the Punjab Assembly. He briefed the Honorable MPAs about stages and days allocated to each stage regarding the Finance Bill and types of cut motions presented by the members. Mr. Haider Abbas, Director General (Finance) PIPS presented an overview of the Annual Budget. He also presented a comparison between the Federal Budget and Provincial Budget of Punjab analyzing the Annual Budget Statements. He also briefed the Honorable Members regarding distribution of resources under NFC Award and the fiscal deficits in the recent years. He emphasized on ensuring efficient and effective utilization of budget allocations, performance audit and effective oversight through Standing Committees and recommended Budget Utilization Review by the Legislature quarterly to ensure value for money, transparency and accountability. Dr. Waseem Shahzad discussed Provincial GDP Growth Projections along with Punjab Growth Strategy. He briefed the Honorable Members about Pakistan’s GDP Growth Rate for the past 6 decades in comparison with the regional countries and the domestic and external debt situation. He emphasized on saving in addition to target-based budgeting and fiscal accountability. Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ali, Executive Director, CPDI, emphasized on making the budget process more extensively deliberated, transparent and accountable to the Parliament. He emphasized that instead of passing the Finance Bill in haste, it should be discussed in detail in the Parliament and in relevant committees. It is crucial to have pre and post budget debates to increase financial accountability and effective use of funds. The session was followed by a comprehensive round of questions and recommendations by the Honorable Members. Honorable Members from both sides of the isles acknowledged PIPS for a thorough and objective economy and budget analysis helping them in budget debate befittingly. The seminar ended with vote of thanks by Director General Research PIPS, Muhammad Rashid Mafzool Zaka and group photo at 3 pm.