The Punjab Assembly (PA) held the general discussion on the supplementary budget of 2011-2012 on Friday.
The PA resumed its session at 10:30am under Speaker Rana Muhammad Iqbal. PPP’s Ehsanul Haq Naulatia, initiating the debate on the supplementary budget, lashed out at the treasury.
The treasury had presented a supplementary budget of Rs57.17 billion for approval by the house. Naulatia said the government had said it had released Rs140 billion out of the Rs220 billion annual development plan (ADP) for fiscal year 2011-2012. He said a Rs57 billion supplementary budget was around 17 per cent of the total ADP. He said no more than 3 or 4 per cent of the total ADP was acceptable as supplementary budget.
He said according to the official configuration of utilisation of supplementary budget, the government had used Rs720 million for the improvement of jails and Rs11 billion for pensions while Rs20 billion had been used for miscellaneous expenditures. He said details of miscellaneous expenditures consist of 42 items.
He said that expenditures in terms of supplementary budget are a violation of the principles laid down in the Punjab Budget Manual, Punjab Financial Handbook No 4.
Naulatia said that the huge supplementary budget showed the government’s poor administration. He said the miscellaneous expenditures particularly showed the government’s ineffective management of finances.
He said that according to the manual a Rs57 billion supplementary budget is objectionable. He said that after the attacks on KPK Jails, the Punjab government’s spending of Rs11 billion on improving security of jails was justifiable under the manual of the book. He said the unexpected and urgent nature of the amount justified this part of the supplementary budget.
He said recovery of receipts was not satisfactory. He said the big supplementary budget will result in serious losses and damage the economy.
He also said government had used more than 80 per cent of the ADP for the fiscal year 2011-2012 on projects in Lahore.
Earlier, PML-Q’s Chaudhry Zaheeruddin Khan, while talking on a point of order asked the speaker to take action against PML-N MPA Abdul Razzaq Dhillon over his use of inappropriate language against female members. He said the speaker’s decision to suspend the membership of two members, Seemal Kamran and Sheikh Alauddin, was not sufficient and demanded that Dhillon’s membership be suspended as well.
The speaker said that he had suspended PML-N MPA Naseem Nasir Khawaja as well for throwing her shoe. Khan said his party had decided on a token boycott of the house for two days.
At the same time, PML-N members demanded PML-Q MPA Samina Khawar Riaz be banned from the house.
The opposition women members including PPP’s Sajida Mir and PML-Q MPA Amna Ulfat Dar staged a protest on The Mall and demanded that an FIR be registered against Sheikh Alauddin.
The speaker sent some members to bring them back to the house. Provincial Minister Nadeem Kamran informed the house that both sides had demanded that a committee be formed to investigate the entire matter and fix responsibility. The speaker agreed and gave the ruling for the formation of a committee which would meet in the speaker’s chamber.
The speaker adjourned the session on Saturday morning with the announcement that the finance minister would wind up the debate on supplementary budget and a vote would be taken on demands for grants and cut motions in the supplementary budget.
Published In The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2012.