76 Lawmakers Remain Silent During Budget Deliberations

Nearly 46% of the lawmakers did not contribute in the budget debate during Sindh Assembly’s 25th session, says Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) in its session report.

Provincial Minister for Finance tabled the Sindh Finance Bill, 2016 during the first sitting which was passed by the House in the 11th sitting after discussion on the provincial budget for 33 hours and 30 minutes.  The House approved 149 demands for grants for the year 2016-17 and rejected 722 cut motions on them while 42 supplementary demands for grants for the year 2015-16 were approved by setting aside 114 cut motions on them.

The House witnessed low interest of lawmakers in Budget debate as 76 (46% of the current membership – 165) did not contribute in the debate. Eight of them were female legislators while 68 were male lawmakers. Five non-participating female lawmakers were from MQM and three from PPPP. Similarly, of the 68 male members not participating in budget debate, 45 belonged to PPPP followed by MQM (18), PML-N (3) and one each by NPP and PML-F.

Of the 89 members who took part in the budget debate, 67 were male and 22 female. However, the female lawmakers were found to be more active as compared to their male counterparts, as 76% (22 out of 29) of them expressed their views on the budgetary proposals while only 49% (67 out of 136) males contributed to the general discussion.

The female lawmakers consumed five hours and four minutes while their male counterparts took 28 hours and 26 minutes to deliberate over the provincial budget. Out of 22 participating female MPs, 14 were from PPPP followed by MQM (4), PML-F (2) and one each by PML-N and PTI. Likewise, 30 of the male members debating the budget were from PPPP followed by MQM (22), PML-F (8), PML-N (5) and PTI (2).

The House adopted two resolutions to end unannounced load-shedding in the province and condemn the murder of renowned Qawal Amjad Sabri.

The quorum was pointed out twice during the session. During the 5th sitting, PML-F lawmaker pointed the quorum but it was ignored by the Chair while PTI lawmaker pointed it during the 6th sitting and it was found complete upon counting.

The House witnessed two walkouts and six protest by the Opposition lawmakers. The MQM lawmakers walked out of the House during 3rd sitting for two minutes against registration of FIR against an ex-parliamentarian while entire opposition staged walk out for 26 minutes in 6th sitting for not allowing media to cover the proceedings live.  Six instances of protest within the House were witnessed for 38 minutes which were against objectionable remarks by treasury lawmakers, attitude of the chair, rejection of cut motions and demand of making new provinces.

The House witnessed presentation the schedule of authorized expenditure for the year 2016-2017 and the supplementary schedule of authorized expenditure for the year 2015-2016. Members raised 69 points of order, consuming 92 minutes of total session time.

The 25th session of the Sindh Assembly had 11 sittings that started with an average delay of an hour and nineteen minutes, while each sitting lasted four hours and 46 minutes, on average. Forty-seven members, on average, were present at the outset of the sitting and 73 lawmakers were present at the time of adjournment. A maximum of 87 members were found to be present at one
point of the sitting while six minority members attended each sitting, on average.

The Chief Minister attended seven sittings for 43% of the proceedings’ time. The Leader of the Opposition attended 11 sittings for 69% of the proceedings’ time while the Finance Minister was present in 11 sittings for 99% of the total time. The Speaker chaired 62% of the session; the Deputy Speaker presided over 32% of the time; the panel of chairperson presided over 4% of session while the remaining time (2%) was consumed in a break. Among parliamentary leaders, the PTI leader attended all 11 sittings
followed by PML-F (10), PML-N (9) and NPP (7).

To download the complete report, click here