Budget process guide launched
ISLAMABAD, October 19, 2010: To facilitate and strengthen the role of the parliament, political parties, citizen groups and the media in the federal budget process, Pildat launched a ‘Budget Process Guide in Pakistan’ here on Tuesday.
The guide was launched as part of a workshop.
Pildat has been working to make the federal budget process more inclusive and strengthen the channels and practices of parliamentary input, scrutiny and oversight of the national budget.
The ‘Pildat Budget Process Guide’ contains a variety of papers, case studies and reports on how to make the federal and parliamentary budget process more effective in Pakistan. The case studies, especially from countries such as Canada and India, highlight how various segments of the democratic polity in the two countries affect the budget formulation, its scrutiny and oversight.
The federal budget is one of the most important policy documents in a year that reflects the country's economic outlook with regard to fiscal, financial and economic objectives. It is one such document that impacts all segments of society and therefore the single most important entry point for influencing governmental priorities not just for the traditional stakeholders such as businesses and financial institutions but also general public, civil society groups as well as the media.
Parliamentary control of the purse strings or the national budget is one of the most crucial powers of any parliament. As the representative of the people, the parliament is the appropriate place to ensure that the budget best matches the nation’s needs with available resources. Such an exercise demands detailed engagement of the parliament with the budget process.
Pakistan's current budgetary process has, for various historical reasons, attracted little input from parliamentarians, political parties and citizen groups. The budget process has, in consequence, become solely the domain of the executive, leaving little scope for input in formulation, analysis or accountability.
It is crucial that various stakeholders -- parliamentarians, political parties, citizen groups and organisations and media -- come together to shape what can be an effective budget process in Pakistan.