ISLAMABAD: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) wants more power to penalise ‘delinquent’ bureaucrats and space to hold more frequent meetings of its subcommittees for swift disposal of audit paragraphs.
During an in-camera meeting of the PAC, the committee agreed to write to the Senate Secretariat to allocate rooms for meetings of its subcommittees because the National Assembly Secretariat lacks rooms.
Initially, the PAC used to comprise MNAs only but a couple of years ago senators were also inducted into the committee as its members.
Sources said that the committee also sought staff from the Senate Secretariat to assist the subcommittees.
The committee also took exception to non-cooperative behaviour of the bureaucracy as it observed that directives issued by the PAC chairman had not been implemented.
The bureaucracy also failed to submit reports in response to PAC’s queries, a PAC member told Dawn.
“Subsequently, we have recommended that the cost of PAC’s meeting be recovered from officers who would be responsible for not cooperating with the committee and wasting time.”
In January this year, the PAC chairman wrote a letter to the National Assembly speaker, informing him that no action had been taken on 24,000 audit paras of the PAC over the last decade because of delinquent bureaucracy.
The PAC chairman believes that after acquiring powers to punish federal secretaries, the committee would be in a position to force them to take action on audit paras.
The sources said that PAC chairman Rana Tanveer Hussain had consulted some members of the committee on a proposal to write a letter to Prime Minister Imran Khan to seek amendments to rules to empower the PAC to suspend federal secretaries because the committee was of the view that the bureaucracy created hurdles in the way of disposal of audit paras, apparently to save their colleagues.
Published in Dawn, September 15th, 2021