Forum and Senate of Pakistan hold inaugural seminar “Accountable Fiscal Federalism in Pakistan”
On 15th February 2018, the Forum of Federations held a seminar in collaboration with the Senate of Pakistan on ‘Fiscal Federalism’ at the Pakistan Institute of Parliamentary Services, Islamabad. The seminar is the first, in a series of events, planned in partnership with the Senate of Pakistan.
This series forms the cornerstone of an MOU signed with the Senate of Pakistan on 14th December 2018. This MOU is the first of its kind for the Senate of Pakistan who sought the support of the Forum in its work as the ‘house of the federation’ and its efforts to seek greater accountability and transparency of government.
The Chairman of the Senate, Honorable Mian Raza Rabbani, inaugurated the seminar – in his key note address he indicated that there were many challenges that continued to control and to exercise influence over matters related to distribution of resources which was against the spirit of Pakistan’s Constitution and the 18th Amendment. He stated that a proper mechanism was established by the constitution, the Council of Common Interest, which was created as a parallel institution to the federal cabinet to manage the affairs between the Federal Government and the Provinces and to ensure equal distribution of resources as per the spirit of Article 172 of the Constitution.
He further stated that strong provinces would guarantee a strong federation and indicated that the Senate would work to support these efforts to meaningfully implement the 18th Constitutional Amendment to achieve a stronger, democratic and true federal Pakistan. He added that it was his hope that this seminar would add further expression to this effort and that the experts present would assist the Senate and other stakeholders to achieve this desired objectives.
Swiss Board member for the Forum of Federations, Hans Altherr, provided a welcome speech and indicated that the important questions surrounding the issue of strengthening federalism, and the role of the Upper House here in Pakistan would add some insight and inspiration to the efforts of the Senate of Pakistan to strengthen the accountability and fiscal capacity to deliver services and ultimately strengthen its democracy.
Hans Altherr (Switzerland), former Senator of Switzerland; Mohammed Bhabha (South Africa), former Senator of South Africa’s Parliament, Premier’s Economic Advisory Board of the North West Government; and Prof. Bertus de Villiers (Australia/ South Africa), Judge and Constitutional Expert presented international perspectives addressing the two core themes of the seminar:
1) The Senate of Pakistan’s larger and effective role in budget planning, development, implementation and oversight in fiscal issues
2) Beyond the 18th Amendment – Implementation of Fiscal Devolution in Pakistan
The Seminar was attended by a number of Senators, Senior Staff of the Senate, media, development organizations and post-doctorate students from local universities.