PILDAT’s analysis: Only one-fourth legislators of NA participate in budget session

Asim Yasin
Wednesday, Jul 06, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The latest budget session of the National Assembly was marred by the lack of interest from the members as only one-fourth of them participated in the discussion.

According to PILDAT’s analysis of the budget session of the National Assembly, only 87 out of 342 legislators took part in the federal budget discussion. Of which 61 were male and 26 were female who spoke only 29 hours and 46 minutes.

As many as 255 MNAs did not participate in the budget discussion, resignations of PTI members from the Assembly could be the main for it.PILDAT observed Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif attended only 3 out of 17 sittings while Leader of the Opposition Raja Riaz Ahmad attended 7 sittings.

On average, 122 MNAs marked their attendance during the budget session.The budget session of the National Assembly began on June 6 and was prorogued after 24 days on June 29, 2022. The session spanning 24 days met for 17 sittings.

The National Assembly met for 52 hours and 49 minutes out of which the actual budget sittings spread over 45 hours and 7 minutes compared to 102 hours and 27 minutes in last year’s budget session.

Average sitting time was 3 hours and 6 minutes and the average delay in starting a sitting was recorded at 44 minutes per sitting.Almost 96 percent agenda items were disposed while only 4 percent agenda items were left over in 17 sittings.

In 15 out of 17 sittings, 100% agenda items were disposed while maximum agenda items left over were 67.35%.Quorum was pointed out only in 1 out of 17 sittings, which resulted in adjournment of the sitting.

On average 122 MNAs marked attendance during the session.Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali, MNA, MMAP was the most vocal MNA during the session with a recorded talk time of 2 hours and 30 minutes.

During the session, 17 bills, including the Finance Bill, 2022 were passed by the National Assembly. No Government bill was introduced while 6 private members bills were introduced.

No ordinance was laid while one ordinance, the General Statistics (Re-Organization) (Amendment) Ordinance, 2022, was extended for further 120 days during the session on June 21.

The PILDAT has strongly advocated that changes are required to strengthen effective use of the most crucial powers of the Parliament for federal budget process like to amend Article 84 of the Constitution, which currently allows government to authorize supplementary grants without seeking prior Assembly approval.

PILDAT also advocated to amend the Public Finance Management Act 2019 to obligate the federal government to share budget strategy paper with standing committees of the National Assembly and Senate on Finance before its final approval by the federal cabinet and recommended to increase the time to debate/scrutinize budget in the standing committees and the National Assembly.