The several Public Accounts Committees

Under the basic Westminster theoretical account the Parliament divides itself into assorted commissions to expeditiously set about its broad scope of oversight duties. From its earlier yearss, the theoretical account saw the demand for a commission to supervise authorities ‘s fiscal operations and from this the PAC evolved. It is the 150-odd old ages of Westminster parliamentary history which has been the foundation of the Public Accounts Committee in Pakistan.

The Public Accounts Committee ( PAC ) is one of the most of import establishments to guarantee legislative answerability. Its function and duties have been laid out in the “ Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business in the National Assembly ”. These regulations specify that the PAC should look into the legality and regularity of income and outgo of authorities sections along with the studies of the Auditor-General. As per his constitutional authorization, the Auditor-General of Pakistan submits audit studies on the histories of the Federation and Provinces to the President and Governors severally.

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The President/ Governor do them to be laid before the National/Provincial Assemblies, which in bend refer these studies to the several Public Accounts Committees. The Principal Accounting Officers are called upon to look before these Committees to fulfill the public representatives with mention to the observations of the Auditor General made in his studies with respect to the public disbursement incurred through them. The Public Accounts Committees are required to subject one-year studies for the deliberation, and consideration of the several assemblies.The Parliament, through its PAC, is reliant on the Auditor General for most of the information it requires to transport out its peculiar authorization.

There are many illustrations across many states where an Auditor General has extended the range of his work in order to suit the PAC ‘s demands which go beyond the conventional fiscal audit.This has given rise to assorted types of conformity and public presentation audits. While a PAC might non hold the powers to teach authorities, by going ‘formidable ‘ in the eyes of the populace it additions an authorization that causes authorities to however handle its directives as instructions. However, there is a demand to further spread out the oversight function of the PAC, its legislative authorization to implement the execution of its recommendations.

The constitutional right granted to Auditor General Pakistan for look intoing the revenue enhancement remunerator ‘s money spent by Federal Ministries and Departments recklessly are examined and during the twelvemonth 2007-2008 reported to PAC which exercises its powers on behalf of National Assembly. Besides scrutiny of Auditor General ‘s Reports, the PAC took notice of issues of public importance refering to following Ministries/Division: -Alleged corruptness in EOBIUnprecedented monetary value hiking of Oil and GasConstruction of Islamabad Expressway and installing of five overhead Bridgess ( CDA ) .Purchase and abuse of vehicles by Government Departments.Written off loans during last 8 old ages and neglect of process, regulations and ordinance for presenting of loans by the commercial Banks/National Bank of Pakistan, including under Saeban Loan Scheme.

Irregular Appointment of Advisers by assorted organisations.Pakistan Railway Land under illegal business of Army/Rangers/Janbaz force etc.Allotment of Railway land to Royal Palm Club.Hajj agreements for Pakistan Pilgrims in Makkah & Madina in 2010.

National Assembly/ Senate Co-operative Housing Society ScamLand Scams sing CDA allocation of Plots/Encroachment etc.Irregular payment in Steel Mills of House Rent Allowance in add-on to proviso of official adjustment.Reported sale of Pakistan Embassy edifice Tokyo, Japan in 2007 on a cast-off monetary value.Primary Legal powerThe primary legal power of the Auditor General is to scrutinize the Government histories and the histories of all authorities sections, organisations and bureaus every bit good as straight or indirectly allied establishments or corporations.

The Auditor General besides audits grants and financess provided by the Government under particular orders or conditions.In the add-on the Auditor General, now through the Controller, acts as the accounting accountant finding the process for keeping histories by the Government and its sections and all other defined organisations which fall within the legal power of the audit to be carried out by the Auditor General. In pursuit of its primary legal power the Auditor General has been given the power andauthorization to inspect and look into all histories associating to the Government and find during audit any mal disposal, misconduct or embezzlement of public financess.Secondary Legal powerThe Auditor General has a secondary legal power which non holding been defined under the Constitution has been introduced through the Ordinance of 2001 and anterior thereto through presentments issued in this regard.

Under this legal power the Auditor General can besides scrutinize the histories of any organisation or organic structure corporate at the petition of the President of Pakistan or a Governor of a Province.In add-on the Auditor General now besides has the power to scrutinize stocks and shops of all authorities sections and hence, its power and extent of audit has been enhanced to cover all countries of a standard corporate audit. The most of import secondary legal power available to the Auditor General is that of coverage and reding betterments and infliction of control systems in the fiscal and accounting direction so to minimise the loss and wastage of public financess.Factors which make AGP Ineffective in Eradicating CorruptnessThe AG ‘s Department stands at the pinnacle of the fiscal answerability pyramid, by describing to the legislative assembly on the authorities ‘s stewardship of public financess and assets.

However, the ability of the AG ‘s Department to move as a watchdog over fiscal unity and to observe single instances of corruptness has been undermined by a figure of factors[ 1 ]:First, the AG ‘s Department lacks modern methodological analysiss to bring out corruptness. The AG ‘s Department has tended to concentrate on dealing based audit, which is needfully retrospective and sample based. The hapless province of fiscal controls, outdated and complex fiscal regulations and processs and civilization of non-compliance all mean that audit questions needfully concentrate on child, even junior-grade, issues. More important issues, including corruptness, are missed.

As a consequence of this, the credibleness of the audit map is low, and functionaries seldom attach much importance to it. Parliament, the populace and the media have besides non yet learnt to harmonize the audit map the regard it deserves, for the same ground. The Department is now taking stairss to increase its relevancy and earn regard, by spread outing into modern methodological analysiss and describing formats: particular audits, foreign aided undertaking studies, gross audit, public presentation audit, and issue oriented surveies.Clearly, there is still some manner to travel to develop the needed capacity, peculiarly in systems audit, public presentation audit and forensic auditing, to hold a discernible impact on corruptness.

The Department is following International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions best pattern in its reform docket, and upgrading capacity via the Undertaking to Better Financial Reporting and Auditing. The AG ‘s Department is besides set abouting a scope of advanced enterprises aimed at bettering the control environment within sections.Second, allegations about collusion between hearers and administrative officials to cover up abnormalities persist. The low wage, hapless working conditions and deficiency of professionalism – so the same issues that pervade the public service – expose hearers to enticements of corruptness.

Furthermore, hearers suffer from low morale. Their work is below the belt dismissed as petit larceny and irrelevant by many, and their studies are seldom considered by the PAC in clip for any action to be taken. If they believe their work is of small value, opposition to enticement is likely to be low ” .Third, the proficient proficiency of hearers has been variable, but low overall, peculiarly in countries where specializer expertness is required to bring out corruptness, for illustration in building, every bit good as in scrutinizing techniques.

The Audit and Accounts Training Institute was non able to offer a high criterion of preparation due to miss of resources. Capacity issues are besides being addressed via PIFRA, and the Department has now introduced enfranchisement by an independent professional entity as the footing for departmental publicity in add-on to revamping the preparation course of study for Inter Departmental Cadre officers.Fourthly, there is the issue of independency on a figure of counts. Until 2001, when the audit and histories maps were separated, the audit map lacked independency.

Even now, the AG ‘s Department is an affiliated section of the Finance Division, which leads to a struggle of involvement state of affairs where a chief auditee becomes the commanding ministry. This is despite the Constitutional proviso for the AG ‘s Department to be an independent entity describing direct to the President.Challenges To Auditor General PakistanAs a portion of the altering universe, we endeavour to invariably expect, acknowledge and react to alterations happening in our environment. The followers is a snapshot of the challenges The OAGP faces.

Reacting to an addition in the outlook of stakeholders for transparence and answerabilityGlobalization and information engineering revolution has increased flow of information to the general populace. Furthermore, media has become more self-asserting on issues of answerability. Empowered with information, the stakeholders, particularly the citizens of Pakistan, now expect more from the OAGP. Consequently, the OAGP has to invariably diversify its merchandise and services to run into this demand.

Guaranting timely answerability by the Political action committeeThe AGP carries out audits and prepares the statutory audit studies yearly. However, the answerability of those involved in fraud, waste and maltreatment of the public fund depends on the being and effectivity of the PACs. The present PAC of the National Assembly has efficaciously been able to cut down chronic holds in disposing of the audit studies. It has created a new case in point by finishing the work load of three old ages within a span of 10 months during the last twelvemonth.

The commission completed the examination of the audit studies for the twelvemonth 2005-06 by working for 37 yearss in seven Sessionss. Two sub-committees discussed and completed the audit studies for the old ages 1989-90 and 1991-92. The PAC and its sub-committees held meetings even when the National Assembly was in session, puting a new illustration of efficiency and acuteness to execute efficaciously. However, answerability system needs to be strengthened further to guarantee that those found involved in abuse of the public office are made to pay back.

Unfortunately, the fundamental law of the PAC has non been a precedence point with authoritiess in the states. As a consequence, there is a important backlog of pending audit studies with the current PAC as indicated below:Political action committeePendencyPunjab10 Old agesSindh18 Old agesKPK13 Old agesBalochistan23 Old agesCoping with the addition in the usage of information engineering tools in Public Sector operationsThe usage of information engineering tools has increased manifold in recent old ages. Audited account must react to this displacement in the modus operandi of the populace sector by altering the manner it operates. Resultantly, the OAGP has formulated the guidelines for the procurance of hardware and package and besides the Information System Audit Guidelines.

These set of guidelines would guarantee the better examination of the IT related equipment every bit good as the Information System procedures. This entails making a cell of IS-auditors and traveling off from the traditional auditing incrementally.Managing the public-private partnership and NGOs in public service bringingIncreasingly, the authoritiess worldwide are depending on the public-private partnership and the NGOs as an option to traditional bringing mechanism. Already, a Public Private Partnership Policy has been notified by the Federal Government.

This is new country both for the authorities and the AGP and demands that the OAGP non merely builds its capacity for audit of activities carried out through public-private partnerships but besides guides the authorities in effectual use of this agreement for the improved service bringing.Constructing partnership civilization with auditeesThe nucleus values of OAGP put accent on constructing partnership civilization with auditees. However, the AGP is yet to make the phase where the hearers and the auditees can work as spouses in bettering authorities ‘s operational effectivity.Commiting public presentation benchmarkingThe AGP has implemented the QMF and other steps to better its public presentation.

This represents important advancement at the policy degree. However, when public presentation comes under closer examination, it is bound to light opposition from the forces that support the position quo. The OAGP is countering this state of affairs through assorted alteration direction activities but a batch remains to be done.Prolonging reforms under PIFRAPIFRA has contributed a batch in the development of the populace sector scrutinizing in the OAGP.

It has undertaken a endurance contest of reforms and alteration of the audit processs in order to aline them with the international best patterns. Development of the FAM, sectoral guidelines, the QMF and the stairss toward the acquisition of AMIS are portion of the scrutinizing reforms under PIFRA. The World Bank has extended the undertaking shutting day of the month to December 2013.The advancement made under PIFRA needs to be consolidated so that reforms momentum can be sustained even after the undertaking comes to a close.

Among other things, it calls for constructing capacity to transport out the audits as per FAM and other guidelines developed and circulated in FAOs. Frequently, audit studies do non mirror the consequence of the guidelines and the manuals prepared under the auditing reforms. These guidelines and manuals are means to an terminal and non an terminal in themselves. The capacity edifice of officers is cardinal to the sustainability of the scrutinizing reforms under PIFRA.

Enrolling and Retaining the bestThe OAGP is a knowledge-based organisation. However, its best people are tempted to go forth the organisation for other public sector organisations and the private sector where they are offered much higher wage bundles. The OAGP has invested significantly in its work force over the old ages but its compensation construction does non back up keeping of its best workers. What is more, dwindling financial infinite has made it hard that the AGP can acquire extra inducements for its work force from the authorities.

Strengthening internal answerability and controls within authoritiesWhile the OAGP points out cases of waste, fraud, and maltreatment of the resources, its work covers merely a little fraction of the entire authorities minutess. Therefore, the authorities bureaus need to hold a strong internal answerability and control mechanism to forestall happening of abnormalities in the operations and implementing directives of the AGP. The Government of Pakistan has introduced the strategy of the Chief Finance and Accounts Officers ( CFAOs ) to guarantee professional direction of the public resources. However, the CFAOs remain to be steadfastly and efficaciously embedded in the organisational hierarchy of the federal authorities.

Decision and RecommendationsThe weak answerability mechanism is the major cause of corruptness in authorities sections and public sector corruptness is besides considered to be the major obstruction in the procedure of economic development of a state.Corruptness represents a major hurdle on the route to good administration. There are several manifestations of the corruptness confronting the authorities circles in Pakistan.In Pakistan, assorted legal and institutional mechanisms are in topographic point to look into the growing of corruptness.

Parliament is empowered to look into each and every penny being spent on any countries mentioned in the budget. Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly, lower house of Parliament, in peculiar and the standing commissions are besides robust variety meats of public answerability.Besides parliamentary inadvertence, there are many legal anti-corruption instruments on the legislative act book for illustration: Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, Public Representatives ( Disqualification ) Act, 1949, Elected Bodies ( Disqualification ) Regulation, 1959, Anti- Corruption Establishment Act, Federal Investigation Agency Act, Ehtesab Act and the National Accountability Ordinance 1999. In add-on to these anti-corruption bureaus, answerability organic structures besides exist to look into the threat of corruptness.

These organic structures are Public Accounts Committee ( PAC ) , Auditor General Pakistan ( AGP ) Department, and the office of Ombudsman have besides been tasked of extinguishing corruptness.The Auditor General ‘s Department must increase its relevancy and effectivity. It should transform its function from one of set abouting retrospective transaction/compliance audit to formalizing direction averments about internal controls and the fiscal administration environment, ( by set abouting system audits ) , and about the efficiency and effectivity of resource use ( set abouting public presentation audits ) . It is already fixing for this function by its design of Corruption Rating Index ( CRI ) , Financial Governance Rating ( FGR ) , Accountability Index and Internal Quality Rating for sections.

The Department must go on to take steps to guarantee that its work has the widest possible audience.PIFRA plans for widespread upgrading of proficiencies and professionalism, which is most welcome. This accent must be matched by significantly improved wage for hearers. This can merely be achieved by delinking the Auditor General ‘s Department from the civil service wage construction on the footing that it is a constitutional organic structure, leting it to put footings and conditions for staff The Department must so utilize its new corporate planning tools to find efficient resource allotment to enable the increased wage.

The 3rd major strategic country for the Auditor General ‘s Department is independency. The Department must discontinue to be an affiliated section of the Ministry of Finance and have administrative and fiscal liberty.The Federal and provincial PACs must be strengthened to mirror the betterments in the audit map conveying issues before it. The PACs ‘ nonpartisanship and effectivity should be enhanced through assignment of its president from the resistance and stipulating a clip frame for assignment of PACs after a new authorities takes over.

Mechanisms to guarantee speedy disposal of audit parities include sub-committees, an beforehand one-year timetable and a prioritization mechanism.It is critical that the PAC ne’er once more falls behind in reexamining the audit parity, as this undermines the full public answerability procedure. An execution mechanism is critical: Political action committee ought to hold strengthened legal powers of enforcement. A panel of experts will increase PAC ‘s proficient expertness, and highlight issues of corruptness for the PAC.

Transparency, via openers to the media and unrecorded coverage, should be a demand for all PACs.

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The several Public Accounts Committees. (2017, Jun 28). Retrieved from