Describing the agriculture growth alarmingly low, the senators on both aisle of the senate on Friday urged the government to accord top priority to the sector in the budget, which provided livelihood to almost half of population and massively contributed to the gross domestic product (GDP).
The government was asked to review the incentives proposed in the budget for the poor performing agriculture sector and thrash out a comprehensive package for the growers, many of whom had started migrating to urban areas because of facing losses in farm produce.
The lawmakers on the treasury and opposition benches during their budget speeches continued their demand for giving financial powers to the senate and formation of the senate’s own public accounts committee to hold the government and its departments accountable. They lamented that airing recommendations and proposals in the house was a useless exercise, as the senate did not have powers to have a say in the budget.
In a major move, PPP’s Senator Sherry Rehman submitted a petition to the Senate Chairman, Mian Raza Rabbani, carrying signatures of senators of all parties in the house; wherein they urged him to take steps for the constitution of a Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
“I am taking the liberty of writing to you in order to raise a matter of public importance with regard to the development of institutional mechanisms for improving the functions of parliament, and in this case specifically, the august House of the Federation,” she wrote in the petition.
PPP’s Senator Farooq H Naek, who has been Senate chairman in the past, said that was required only to amend the rules, having nothing to do with the House Business Advisory Committee (HBAC). However, he insisted that there had to be a balance maintained between the National Assembly and the Senate.
But Rabbani said that as per the HBAC’s decision, they would wait for the Prime Minister’s return from abroad for two weeks prior to a decision on formation of the Senate own panel.