Sherry Rehman presents Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019 in Senate

Islamabad: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Parliamentary Leader in Senate, Sherry Rehman, has presented the Constitution (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (Substitution of Article 84), in the Senate.

The bill aims to substitute Article 84 of the Constitution, to curtail the practice of expenditures in excess and that of supplementary grants, except in dire need or uncertainty.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Rehman said, “Parliaments have the authority to pass supplementary budgets under emergency situations and that is exactly what Article 84 is, an emergency clause. But now, it is continuously being exploited. This cannot be the new normal. Entire budgets should be passed after undergoing parliamentary oversight. In the UK as well as in the neighbouring India, supplementary grants pass through the parliament”.

“We have noticed that over the past 10 years, the supplementary grants are dramatically increasing. So much so, that in the last fiscal year, supplementary grants increased by 93% compared to 2017. This is tax payer’s money, how can such a substantial increase in supplementary grants bypass the parliament?” Rehman asked additionally.

The Vice-President PPPP added, “PTI’s former Finance Minister had also acknowledged that in the interests of better governance, supplementary grants should be phased out. However, he was unable to do it and the incoming Finance Minister has already passed some supplementary grants in the ECC meeting”.

“We have seen in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that there is a growing reliance on supplementary grants amongst institutions. Ideally, the National Assembly should be authorizing this but presently it falls on the PAC. The amounts of these grants are consistently increasing but the parliament is oblivious to it. On this basis, I would like this bill to be passed onto the committee for approval and consideration,” concluded Rehman.