Free hand: Finance minister handed absolute control over economic decisions

Unlike earlier, the decisions taken by the ECC will no longer need cabinet approval .

Zafar Bhutta August 08, 2013
the cabinet in its meeting on July 25, gave ratification powers to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for all economic decisions to be taken by the ECC. PHOTO: FILE


The cabinet has given free hand to the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar to implement the decisions of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) without ratification on reversing decisions taken by the previous Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government.

According to the documents available with The Express Tribune, the cabinet in its meeting held on July 25 was informed that Dar, who is also the chairman of the ECC, had proposed the restoration of the charter and mandate of the ECC whereby the body will be the final decision maker on economic policy of the country.

In the meeting, it was said that the restriction imposed by the then prime minister on March 13, 2009 regarding ratification of the decisions of the ECC by the cabinet did not serve the purpose of good governance and efficient decision-making. It was further said that removing bureaucratic red tape, speedier action to resolve the vital economic issues was not possible if the ECC kept on operating in such a restricted environment.

The cabinet meeting was informed that the Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had accordingly approved proposal of the ECC Chairman Dar. The cabinet was further informed that rule 17(1)(c) of the Rules of Business, 1973 stipulated that the cases referred to the cabinet shall be, inter alia, be disposed of by discussion at a meeting of the committee of the cabinet, provided that the decisions of the ECC shall be ratified by the cabinet unless the cabinet, itself, had authorised otherwise.

Earlier in a meeting held on August 5, 2009 had decided that in the future, decisions taken by the ECC and other committees of the cabinet shall be circulated to all the ministers. The decisions were supposed to be, however, submitted to the cabinet for information, and if considered necessary, the decisions will be discussed.

The cabinet in the meeting on July 25 was requested to consider the proposal of the chairman of the ECC for disbanding the requirement of ratifications (of ECC’s decisions) by the cabinet. The requirement of ratification of decisions of other committees of the cabinet will however remain intact.

The cabinet considered the summary and decided that the decisions of the ECC of the cabinet within the scope of its charter shall not be subject to ratification of the cabinet. It was further decided that the cabinet shall be kept informed of all the decisions taken by the ECC.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 9th, 2013.

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