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Pakistan Government’s budgeting System shows Remarkable Improvement

Islamabad, January 29, 2013 (PPI-OT): Pakistan’s rank in Open Budget Index has increased from 38 in 2008 and 2010 to 58 in 2012. Out of the hundred countries surveyed by International Budget Partnership – an independent budget transparency survey organisation, Pakistan has scored 58, which reflects significant improvement and demonstrates the Government’s commitment to achieve budget comprehensiveness and transparency.

In its latest ‘Open Budget Survey’ report 2012, the International Budget Partnership has acknowledged improvement in comprehensiveness of the budget that has been achieved through the Medium-Term Budgetary Framework reform supported by the Department for International Development (DFID), UK from 2003 to 2011 and implemented by the Finance Division under the guidance of the Finance Minister, Abdul Hafeez Sheikh.

International good practices include publishing of eight key budgetary documents at various points in the budget cycle. Pakistan’s score of 58 out of 100 is higher than the average score of 43 for all the 100 surveyed countries.

The ‘Open Budget Survey’ report appreciates that Pakistan’s pre-budget statement, called the ‘Budget Strategy Paper’, is adequately prepared and advises its publication, since a Budget Strategy Paper that presents mid-year review, medium-term fiscal framework and government’s policies, will improve budget transparency and encourage people of Pakistan to provide their comments on policies and related finances that impact their daily lives.

The survey report also acknowledges that presentation of the ‘Green Book’ in the Parliament together with the annual budget has increased the comprehensiveness of the budget by many folds. The ‘Green Book’ provides policy priorities, performance definition, and budget by services to be delivered over the next 3-years.

The Green Book is an important document for the Parliamentary Standing Committees that should review it at the time of budget presentation (through at least a month long review budget process as opposed to the existing 12 days), and monitor performance on regular basis.

The survey report suggests that Pakistan should publish a ‘Citizen’s Budget’ report together with the annual budget. A Citizen’s Budget is a ‘non-technical presentation’ to enable broad public understanding of Government’s plans for raising revenues and spending public funds in order to achieve policy goals.

In addition, the survey report also suggests that Pakistan should publish a ‘mid-year review report’ that provides actual expenditure of the past six months vis-à-vis the original enacted budget including changes made by the Executive in the budget due to additional budgets and movement between budget heads. The ‘mid-year review’ also discusses any changes in economic assumptions that affect approved budget policies.

The survey report also suggests that Pakistan should provide a ‘year-end report’ that should include performance achieved vis-à-vis the performance planned in addition to the expenditure against budget. The performance monitoring report is vital for people of Pakistan to understand what the Government has delivered by using their taxes.

For more information, contact:
Haji Ahmed Malik
Principal Information Officer
Press Information Department (PID)
Tel: +9251 925 2323 and +9251 925 2324
Fax: +9251 925 2325 and +9251 925 2326
Email: piopid@gmail.com

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