PA session adjourned with one-month budget approval

Sher Ali Khalti
Thursday, Feb 29, 2024

LAHORE: The Punjab Assembly session started with a delay of over three hours was adjourned on Wednesday for indefinite period after the passage of a resolution for the approval of a one-month budget.

The crucial session was called to approve an interim budget for the upcoming four-month period. This session, convened by Punjab Governor Balighur Rehman, also included the approval of supplementary grants on the agenda. Scheduled for a single day, Speaker Malik Muhammad Ahmed Khan presided over the proceedings, ensuring the smooth conduct of the meeting. All PMLN members were instructed to attend the assembly session. Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz also attended the session. Speaking to the media in an informal interaction before entering the assembly, Punjab Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz had said that she would do whatever duty she has been assigned, adding that they will prove their detractors wrong through their performance.

“My job is to provide facilities to the people,” she remarked. She stressed that she will face any difficulty that comes her way but would not tolerate any difficulty on the public. PMLN’s Maryam Aurangzeb then presented a motion in the House for approval of one-month expenses worth Rs358 billion to be required for March 1 to 31. The speaker stopped Sibtain Khan from speaking, saying this was the budget process. The resolution was approved amid slogans from both the treasury and opposition benches, following which the session was adjourned indefinitely.

When the speaker finally gave the floor to opposition leader Rana Aftab, he regretted the speed with which the session had been summoned and called it unfortunate, but not illegal. About the proposed bill introduced in the assembly, he said the government wanted Rs358 billion for administrative matters but has not divulged details of where the amount would be spent.“This is a huge sum of money, and you want us to pass it,” Aftab remarked. “Since the day I was elected, there have been two robberies at my house.” The speaker intervened and asked the treasury members to sit down. “Even if salaries are also to be paid, the House should be informed in detail,” Aftab maintained, and then sought details of where the budget was intended to be spent.

Earlier, the assembly secretary had also nominated the panel of chair, comprising Rana Munawar, Ali Haider Gilani, Raheela Naeem and Ghulam Raza.

Speaker Khan addressed the media ahead of the assembly session, emphasising its focus on budgetary matters. He highlighted that the caretaker period had been extended due to certain circumstances, underscoring the necessity for efficient budget management by the current government. Furthermore, Speaker Khan clarified the procedural aspect of budget presentation, affirming that it would adhere to constitutional guidelines and be presented by the assembly itself, not the government.

As the Punjab Assembly gears up to deliberate on crucial fiscal matters, all eyes are on the outcome of the meeting, which holds significant implications for the province's financial management during the interim period.