The Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services, Islamabad, held an interactive Pre Budget Seminar for the Honorable Members of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Monday, May 15th, 2017 at the Jirga Hall, Provincial Assembly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The PIPS Budget Desk has been conducting Pre Budget Seminars efficiently since the last four years. The PIPS Islamabad team was headed by Executive Director Mr. Zafarullah Khan, along with Senior Research Officer Ms. Tehseen Khalid. The seminar was attended by the Honorable Speaker, Mr. Asad Qaiser and Honorable Deputy Speaker, Madam Meher Taj Roghani, of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa along with Honorable MPAs. The basic motive of the seminar was to create a platform where the MPAs could interact with experts and gain significant knowledge regarding the budget and related processes. The facilitating experts included: Dr. Eatzaz Ahmed, Professor Muhammad Ibrahim, Mr. Shahnawaz Khan, Mr. Muhammad Adnan Azeem and Ms. Saima Munir.
The Seminar began with introductory remarks by Senior Research Officer, Ms. Tehseen Khalid followed by the recitation of verses from the Holy Quran. Executive Director PIPS, Mr. Zafarullah Khan then gave his welcome remarks in which he thanked the Honorable Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and gave a brief introduction of PIPS to the attendees. Mr. Asad Qaiser thanked Executive Director PIPS, Mr. Zafarullah Khan and emphasized on the importance of the budget. He mentioned that since this is the last year of the assembly, the focus should be on job creation for the youth.
The first key note speaker of the seminar was Dr. Eatzaz Ahmed, Honorary Chair of State Bank of Pakistan and Professor at University of Peshawar. He gave the attendees an insight into the key economic indicators of Pakistan, the position of Pakistan when compared to other world economies and explained the major economic goals of a healthy economy. While explaining the growth, savings and productivity nexus, he emphasized that investment in both infrastructure and human capital is equally significant for any country to succeed. Furthermore, he highlighted that Pakistan also needs to invest in governance to ensure prosperity.
The next speaker was Professor Muhammad Ibrahim, former Senator and Member of the National Finance Commission. He focused on the NFC and NFC Awards stating the role of the NFC, a history of the NFC, components of the NFC and what should be the concerns of the provinces with regards to the NFC. The 9th NFC was formed in 2015 and is yet to pass an award which is a cause of concern. He emphasized that this delay needs to be addressed and the increased expenses of the provinces need to be funded by the federal government as a priority. He also mentioned that the indicators for the distribution of funds should be revised.
The third key note speaker of the seminar was Mr. Shahnawaz Khan, member of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Authority. He spoke on the revenue generation of the provinces. He gave an overview of the provincial financial discipline, the sources of revenue for the provinces, the constraints in optimum revenue generation by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and reforms for better generation. He highlighted that the basic constraints in revenue generation is the lack of targets being set on sound empirical data and lack of trained expert staff provided by the Federal Board of Revenue. He concluded by stating that the way forward is to adopt new rules and indulge trained staff.
The fourth speaker of the seminar was Mr. Muhammad Adnan Azeem, Finance and Accounts Officer, National Assembly of Pakistan. He gave the attendees an insight into the tips for reading and analyzing the Budget Document. He explained the budget cycle followed by the basic components of the budget document. Mr. Azeem informed the attendees that the “Annual Budget Statement” is the most important document from the entire budget document series as it holds a summary and a key for viewing the other parts.
The final speaker was Ms. Saima Munir, National Manager Capacity Building at Aurat Foundation. Her key note speech was on Gender- based Budgeting. She explained that gender based budgeting is a tool as well as a means as it allows us to assess the seriousness of the Government regarding gender equality, the consistency of the policy as well as social responsibility. The focus of this aspect of budgeting is on the marginalized classes: what is the budget doing for them? This approach not only assesses the policy and budget allocation but also monitors the spending and service delivery along with the outcomes.
The concluding remarks were given by Mr. Abbas Khan, SUBAI Coordinator Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He thanks PIPS for making such worthy experts available for the Honorable Members in order to better equip them in their oversighting roles.
The Executive Director PIPS, Mr. Zafarullah Khan presented the Honorable Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mr. Asad Qaiser with a token of thanks. The Honorable Speaker also presented Mr. Zafarullah with a gift/ token of appreciation. This exchange was followed by a group photo after which lunch was served.