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> Poverty Reduction and the Budget
   To raise awareness of legislators about poverty and the budget
 
Breifing session for parlimantarians
June 07, 2004
Hotel Serena, Islamabad


Background Paper [PDF] [571 KB]
Urdu [PDF]
   

A Briefing Session on Poverty Reduction and the Budget was held on June 7, 2004 at Hotel Serena, Islamabad. It was attended by 40 parliamentarians (28 MNAs and 12 Senators) and three officers of the National Assembly.

 
 

The Briefing Session was arranged in order to give parliamentarians an overview of poverty in Pakistan, the Government’s policies towards poverty reduction and their reflection in the Budget, and the role of parliamentarians in the budget process. The objective of the Briefing Session was to raise awareness of legislators about poverty and the budget process, and to equip them with the tools to effectively contribute to the budget process and poverty reduction policies.

 
 

Inaugurated by Senator Shaukat Aziz, Minister for Finance, the Briefing Session was divided into 3 sessions. Session 1 included an overview of the Government’s policies towards poverty reduction and their reflection in the Budget. Session 2 followed with presentations on the State of Poverty in Pakistan: Overview and Trends and how parliamentarians can influence poverty reduction policies in light of their local perspectives. Session 3 included presentations on the role of Parliamentarians in the Budget Process, the Pakistani Parliament’s role in the Budget Process compared to other countries and an analysis of the projected PRSP Budgetary Expenditure.

 
 

Speakers Engr. Dr. M. Akram Sheikh, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission; Dr. Syed Akmal Hussain, Economist; Dr. A. R. Kemal, Director Pakistan Institute of Development Economics – PIDE; Mr. Gohar Ayub, Former Speaker National Assembly; Mr. Khan Ahmed Goraya, Former Secretary General, National Assembly; and Dr. Kaiser Bengali, Managing Director Social Policy and Development Centre.

 
 

Senator Shaukat Aziz and Engr. Dr. M. Akram Sheikh briefed the participants about the government’s priorities regarding budgetary allocations towards development and poverty alleviation. Dr. A.R Kemal gave an overview of poverty in Pakistan. Dr. Akmal Hussain explained the reasons for the increase in poverty and suggested measures for more equitable growth. Mr. Gohar Ayub stressed on the need for parliamentarians to play a more proactive role in the Budget Process. He asserted that in order to strengthen the role of the Parliament in the budgetary process, it is necessary to increase the power of the Parliament to amend the budget in the Legislative Phase of the budget cycle. He also stressed the need for strengthening to roles of finance and budget committees. Mr. Khan Ahmed Goraya compared the role of the Pakistani Parliament in the budget process with the parliaments of India, England and Australia. Dr. Kaiser Bengali talked about the government’s policies of macro-economic stabilization and their distributional implications. He concluded his speech by giving suggestions for developing pro-poor budgetary policies.

 
 

All the sessions were followed by active Question/ Answer Sessions that provided a forum for debate and exchange of relevant ideas between speakers and the participating audience. There was a general consensus amongst participants regarding greater parliamentary involvement in the budget process and the need for equitable growth.