Dialogue on Status of budget transparency held in Nawabshah

NAWABSHAH: In Nawabshah, a discussion on the status of budget transparency in Pakistan, international best practices was organized by NDF Pakistan in collaboration with CPDI Islamabad. On this occasion Tariq Hussain Channar Program Manager NDF said that CPDI Islamabad has released its fourth annual report on the status of budget transparency in Pakistan, international best practices.

The report identified shortcomings in the budgeting process at the federal and provincial levels and called for a broader discussion of budget proposals with civic groups, government agencies and key stakeholders. The purpose of this report is not only to present findings but to facilitate dialogue between governments, civil society and citizens at large.

The report states that Pakistan should consider launching a centralized digital platform to promote citizen participation. The platform should be designed to present complex budget details in a manner that citizens can easily understand. Governments should prioritize the initiation of nationwide public consultations, including town hall meetings and workshops, during the critical phase of budget formulation.

The report also calls for the preparation and release of separate budget statements for women, minorities, children and persons with disabilities, outlining specific allocations and strategies tailored to each group’s unique needs and challenges.

The report calls for regularization of the citizen budgeting process in Pakistan through specific legislation or regulations. According to the CPDI report, governments should make budget data available in widely machine-readable formats such as Excel and CSV. In addition, citizen participation in the budget-making process should be legally protected. And government institutions should be obliged to consult citizens during various stages of the budgeting process, especially the role of parliamentarians should be increased during budget formulation and implementation.

Mr. Murtaza Channar Regional Director DEPD, Mr. Sabir Hussain Qureshi Additional Director Social Welfare, Mr. Riaz Shar, Mr. Asad Memon, Mr. Akram Khaskheli, Mr. Mazhar Mallah & others while talking to elected representatives, local government representatives, civil society organizations and media representatives during the discussion on “Transparent Budgeting” organized by NDF Pakistan Nawabshah said that for the past decade, CPDI has been working to improve the budgeting process in Pakistan from the district to the federal level to promote transparency.

As a result, the fourth report on “Status of Budget Transparency in Pakistan 2023” has been issued which is a commendable process. The above report not only assesses budget transparency but also helps assess the effectiveness of access to information laws in Pakistan to access budget information. Instead of extending it further, it should be sent to the Finance Committees of the Federal and Provincial Assemblies in advance.

The CPDI report also called for all Planning Commission forms (PC-I to PC-V) to be made available to the public at all federal and provincial levels. There is a need to focus on citizen participation in budgeting, monitoring of the legislature, budget debate period in parliament and fair budgeting.

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