Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is one of the most important Standing Committees in the Parliamentary system of Democracy as it is mandated with the role of Government oversight and scrutiny of budgetary expenses based on the reports of the Auditor General of Pakistan. Therefore, in order to familiarize the honorable Members of the PACs regarding the working and functions of this committee, PIPS has conducted a series of capacity building events for PAC Committee Members and Officers of respective Provincial Assemblies and National Parliament.
In continuation of this initiative, PIPS in collaboration with Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) organized a two day event, from December 16-17, 2019 at Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore for Members and Officers of the Provincial Assembly of The Punjab.
The main focus of the workshop was to stimulate a constructive dialogue on the prevailing challenges and opportunities, audit process, assessment of annual financial statements, International best practices, performance audit, and compliance & follow up on PAC recommendations.
The program commenced with the recitation from the Holy Quran followed by welcome remarks by Ms. Samer Awais, Director General PDP & IT (PIPS). Highlighting the purpose of the event, she mentioned the history and significance of Public Accounts Committees in the Parliamentary system of democracy as an important oversight tool. DG Parliamentary Affairs & Research, Mr. Inayat Ullah Lak apprised the Honourable members about the Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business for PAC in Punjab Assembly. Honourable member of Provincial Assembly Sindh, Mr. Qasim Soomro expressed his views on how to make oversight effective. He suggested need base assessment in drafting the policy of every department. Afterwards DG District Audit, Punjab, Mr. Ejaz ul Haq gave an overview of Audit Process and shed light on legislation, provisions, annual audit planning, audit procedures, code of ethics and finalization of audit report.
In the afternoon session, DG Accountant General, Punjab Mr. Rana Shahzad and Former DAG Mr. Mohsin Khan discussed in detail “The Assessment of Annual Financial Statements” and talked about directives and guidelines defined for Principle Accounting Officers (PAOs).
On day 2, Mr. Faisal Hayat provided a detailed overview of working of PAC in Westminster System. He briefly compared Performance Audit with Policy Audit and discussed the concept of Super Audit.
Afterwards, a panel discussion on the Role of Performance Audit was held chaired by Former DAG, Mr. Muhammad Akram Khan and Director Audit, Mr. Amir Fayyaz. In the afternoon session, Former Hon’ble Member of National Assembly & PAC Ms. Yasmeen Rehman, and Joint Secretary National Assembly Mr. Khaleeq Ahmed Obhah talked about Compliance and follow up on PAC Recommendations.
Honourable Chaiman PAC and Member Provincial Assembly of Punjab, Mr. Yawar Abbas Bukhari in his concluding remarks appreciated PIPS and WFD for organizing an interactive and knowledge sharing workshop for the members and officials. He suggested that Focal persons should be appointed in order to enhance coordination with district audit officer. He further emphasized that strong committees ensured strengthened parliaments and expressed consensus over working in future to overcome lack of power, performing above party politics and arranging regular sessions for effective performance as a way forward to prosperous Pakistan.