Virtual sessions for pre-budget discussion demanded

Virtual sessions for pre-budget discussion demanded

Islamabad : Sustainable Social Development Organization (SSDO) on Tuesday raised a demand for virtual session of the National and Provincial Assemblies to discuss the budget priorities for the upcoming fiscal year 2020-21. SSDO said that as per budget rules, pre-budget sessions are mandatory before presenting the budget but due to corona pandemic, the National and Provincial assemblies are not able to hold debate on the upcoming annual budget. “It is imperative for all the elected members and local stakeholders to take part in the budget process. Federal and provincial governments should devise a mechanism to take the feedback of members of provincial and national assembly through emails and other virtual options,” says the statement. Budget is a planning document both for the government and the businesses in a country. People adjust their expectations about the business environment and public sector programs and decide where they should park their investments in anticipation of a better return on investments. In a nutshell, a budget is a key government document that has an impact on jobs, businesses, and other aspects of economic and social life. In this way, the budget has multiple stakeholders both from the supply and demand side of the financial equation. “The SSDO demands that while budgets are in the making, the federal and provincial government budgets must come under debate in the National and Provincial Assemblies,” says the statement while adding that the organization demands that budget policy should not be treated as a secret during the preparation phase. Rather its broader contours such as investment decisions in the social development sector, pro-poor expenditures, and fiscal policy measures such as taxation must be debated in the federal and provincial assemblies as well as in the Senate of Pakistan. “SSDO believes that open governments and open budgets help fight against corruption bringing in transparency and accountability mechanisms along with the participatory and inclusive approach to budget-making”. The statement says that the importance of an open the debate has actually increased COVID-19 demands change in the allocation of resources for social development such as public health, pro-poor expenditures such as social protection, and also public sector investments in the job creating sectors. “It also needs a serious debate about domestic and foreign resource mobilization to meet the emerging challenges during the COVID-19. Published in The News, May 21,2020 https://www.thenews.com.pk/amp/661544-virtual-sessions-for-pre-budget-discussion-demanded