ISLAMABAD - Since the preparation of federal budget 2014-15 has begun, some of the ministries failed to meet the deadline to submit their budgetary recommendations with the relevant standing committee.
These ministries have recently been issued reminders from department concerned to submit their proposal as soon as possible, sources in the NA Secretariat shared with TheNation.
Interestingly, the ruling party minister Anusha Rehman had introduced the amendment in January last year for submitting the proposals in the committees concerned, but now this practice was not being followed according to rules. The amendment was aimed at enabling the lawmakers scrutinise the PSDP demands and give recommendations to help the Parliament prepare an error-free budget.
The proposed Amendment in Rule 201 (Section-6) says, "Each Standing Committee shall scrutinise and suggest amendments, if necessary, and recommend Ministry's PSDP for the next financial year before the same is sent to the Ministry of Finance for inclusion in the Federal Budget for the next financial year."
It further says, "Each Ministry shall submit its budgetary proposals not later than the 31st January of preceding financial year and the Standing Committee shall make recommendations thereon not later than the 1st March of the preceding financial year: Provided that where such recommendations are not made by the 1st March, the same shall be deemed to have been endorsed by the Standing Committee.”
The major opposition parties (PPP-P and PTI) also raised serious concerns for not fulfilling the legal process by submitting proposals on the floor of the House in the last sitting (9th session).
Talking to this scribe, PPP senior lawmaker Naveed Qamar said that the government should at least fulfil this proposed amendment. "I have also pointed out this anomaly in the House," he added. However, the legal experts argued the treasury benches would easily get the delay condoned in the upcoming NA session.
When contacted, NA Deputy Secretary Legislation Mushtaq Ahmed said that some of the ministries have yet to submit their proposals and recommendations to the relevant standing committees. "The delay in appointment of chairman could also be one of the reasons," he added.
The appointments of the National Assembly standing committees heads had also remained one the issue between treasury and opposition benches. The government had also missed the constitutional deadline for the formation of standing committees and finally it was approved in the 4th session of the lower house without deciding the chairmanship.
Later, NA Speaker Sardar Ayaz Sadiq had 'justified' the delay by using additional time for the budget sessions as an excuse.