Orientation of the Working of Public Accounts Committee of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, Quetta, September 02-03, 2019

  • Publication Date: Fri, September 6, 2019

    The Standing Committee on Public Accounts is one of the most important committees at the National as well as the Provincial Legislatures. The primary functions of the committee are to examine the accounts granted by the Assembly for the expenditure of the Government, the annual finance accounts of the government, the report of the Auditor General of Pakistan and other financial matters as the Minister for Finance may refer to it. Keeping in view the significance of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in oversight of the Government, Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) conducted a two-day orientation on the working of PAC for the honourable Members and staff of Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, from 2nd and 3rd September 2019 at the Secretariat of the Balochistan Assembly.

    The objective of the orientation was to optimize the performance of Public Accounts Committee for effective oversight and to enhance the role provincial assembly can play to ensure its efficiency.

    The program commenced with the recitation of the holy Quran followed by introduction of participants by Ms. Samer Awais, (DG PDP & IT) PIPS. To lay the ground for discussion, Ms. Samer shared some of the best practices of the working of PAC in the countries following Westminster Model of Democracy.

    Afterwards, Secretary Provincial Assembly of Balochistan, Mr. Safdar Hussain, presented the welcome remarks and appreciated the initiative of PIPS for conducting capacity building events for the Members and the staff.

    First session of the day was facilitated by Mr. Faisal Hayat, PAC expert, who elaborated the process mapping of Public Accounts Committee and its roles, from pre PAC till the phase of decision making. He highlighted the importance of PAC working with AGP (Auditor General of Pakistan) and explained at length the working of DACs (Departmental Accounts Committee). He simplified the technicalities of paras in annual report of AGP for easy understanding of the participants.

     Mr. Tahir Shah Kakar (Special Secretary Provincial Assembly of Balochistan) apprised the participants about the “Rules of Procedures of PAC in Provincial Assembly of Balochistan”. He explained that there is a unique provision in their rules that there is no restriction on provincial ministers being members of PAC.

    Ms. Najma Siddiqui (former Secretary PAC National Assembly of Pakistan) highlighted the importance of Performance Audit Reporting, its technicalities, format and the importance of Performance Audit Reporting in PACs. She elaborated the different audit paras, assessment of audit paras by the committee and significance of its recommendations. In addition, formal format of the “recording of minutes of meeting” during each PAC meeting was also shared with the participants.

    The last session of the day was jointly facilitated by Honorable MNA Ms. Shahida Akhtar Ali Khan, Member PAC in the National Assembly of Pakistan, and Mr. Siraj-ud-din Lehri (Deputy Secretary Provincial Assembly of Balochistan).  The honourable Member shed light on scrutinizing audit paras, PAC recommendations, ensuring compliance and follow up with AGP.  In her session the honourable Member explained the intricacy of relationship between the Auditor General, the department and the Secretariat that forms PAC. She briefed the members on how weak internal control and weak financial control can be avoided.  Mr. Siraj-ud-din Lehri briefed the participants about the challenges that the PAC Provincial Assembly of Balochistan faces. The major challenges include workload of past years, lack of human resource, shortage of necessary equipment and un-trained staff which hampers the efficiency and effectiveness of PACs.

    The orientation concluded by the Vote of Thanks to all the members and staff of Provincial Assembly of Balochistan by Ms. Samer Awais, DG (PDP & IT), PIPS. In his remarks the Honourable Chairman PAC, Mr. Akhtar Hussain Langov, appreciated the Members who, despite their previous commitment, made it a point to attend the two-day orientation.