Low interest of lawmakers was witnessed during the Budget session (30th) of the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan as 28 members (43%) did not participate in the general discussion on budget, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its session report.
Among twenty five male and three female inactive members, fourteen belonged to PML-N followed by NP (four), JUI (three), PML and BNP (two each) and PkMAP and BNP-A (one each). The only independent member in the House also remained silent and did not participate in budget discussion during the session.
While on the other hand, 28 male and nine female lawmakers participated in budget debate and expressed their views on it for nine hours and fifty eight minutes. Ten participating members were from PkMAP followed by PML-N (six), NP (five), JUI-F (three), PML (two) and one each of MWM and ANP.
The Chief Minister Balochistan while in the absence of the Provincial Minister for Finance presented the Provincial Budget for the Financial Year 2016-17 during first sitting on June 19, 2016 following which the House initiated general discussion on it. The Opposition Leader opened budget debate during second sitting and spoke for 36 minutes while the Chief Minster concluded debate on budget in his 55 minutes speech during fifth sitting.
The House passed the Balochistan Finance Bill, 2016 and approved a total of 78 Demand for Grants including 55 Demands for Grants for Year 2016-17 and 23 Supplementary Demand for Grants for Year 2015-16. Interestingly, the Opposition parties did not move any Cut Motion pertaining to Demands for Grants of various government departments. The Chief Minister also laid two budget documents – the Schedule of Authorized Expenditure 2016-17 and the Supplementary Schedule of Authorized Expenditure 2015-16 – before the House during last (7th) sitting on June 26, 2016.
The Budget session comprising seven sittings, commenced on June 19 and prorogued on June 26, 2016. Thirteen hours and seven minutes long session starting with an average delay of 30 minutes per sitting was attended by maximum 34 members. On average, thirty members were observed to be present at start and thirty seven at the end of each sitting.
The key members of the House including the Speaker, Leader of the House and the Leader of the Opposition attend all seven sittings. The Speaker presided for 91% session time (eleven hours and fifty-nine minutes) while the remaining nine percent (one hour and eight minutes) of the proceeding was chaired by a Member of Panel of Chairpersons.
The Chief Minister remained present for ten hours and four minutes (77%) of proceedings’ time while the Leader of the Opposition attended entire proceedings of the session. The Parliamentary Leaders of PkMAP, PML, ANP, NP and MWM attended all sitting of the session while the Parliamentary Leader of BNP did not attend any of the sitting. Additionally, lawmakers raised ten Points of Order consuming eight minutes of the total session time.
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