ISLAMABAD - The first meeting of the reconstituted Senate Finance Committee Wednesday approved budget estimates of the Upper House of the Parliament for the next fiscal year.

The committee granted approval to various expenditures earmarked for the next fiscal including approval of the revised budget estimates for the year 2014-2015 and the budget estimates for year 2015-2016.

The committee decided it would make the payment of Rs.30 million towards sharing the cost with the National Assembly in co-hosting the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference coming up in September this year.

Chairman Senate Raza Rabbai solicited views of all members present during the meeting and took decisions based on consensus.

He informed the committee that while exercising economy in expenditures, efforts were being made to improve the sitting and working conditions in the Senate Hall, besides other initiatives in the pipeline, for better discharge of functioning.

The Chairman Senate informed the meeting that the capacity building of the secretariat staff was highly important; therefore, there was a dire need for making PIPS (Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Studies) a vibrant and effective institution. Members of the committee endorsed the views.

The committee also stressed the need for improving the quality of the Senate cafeteria as the current condition of the cafeteria and food was sub-standard. The meeting was attended by Leader of the House in the Senate Raja Muhammad Zafar ul Haq, Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Aitzaz Ahsan besides senators Syed Shibli Faraz, Nuzhat Sadiq, Hidayatullah and Col (retd) Syed Tahir Hussain Mashhadi.

Secretary Senate Amjed Pervez Malik, senior officers of the Ministry of Finance, Revenue and Senate Secretariat were also present during the meeting.