Moldova: How does programme based budgeting benefit citizens?
The Slovak Ministry of Finance recently hosted staff working in Moldovan ministries and public institutions to share their experience with programme based budgeting.
The representatives from Moldova are supporting their central government with program based budgeting, which, according to Natalia Caraus, from the Ministry of Finance, includes comparing budget proposals with national plans and programmes, monitoring their progress, and conducting budget consultations with line ministries.
Moldova has already started implementing programme based budgeting - first in the Ministries of Education, Finance, Healthcare, and Social Protection, with plans to apply it throughout the whole state budget.
In depth: Click on each photo to see what staff from the Moldovan public sector have to say about programme based budgeting
We’re working to ensure that public budgets are executed as planned, information systems are able to provide timely and reliable budgetary data, and enhanced capacities are available to handle the more demanding analysis that programme based budgeting requires,” says Ms. Caraus.
“Countries with serious governance problems are unlikely to benefit much from programme based budgeting.”
According to Moldova’s Chamber of Account chief of methodology, analysis and planning, Viorica Verdes, the Slovak experience was very relevant, given that both countries have a similar development path.
Public finance reform is regarded as one of the most successful areas of Slovakia’s economic transition (from socialism to capitalism), and the Slovak Ministry of Finance now shares its knowledge of public finance with other countries going through similar reforms.
“It is obvious that programme based budgeting ensures transparency and efficient use of public resources,” says chief of the state and national public budget, Valentina Basoc.
But what does it mean for citizens?
“The more effective and efficient spending of public money, and the better the quality of public services, the more satisfied citizens and more reliable governing,” says Vasile Botica, who works on the local World Bank public financial management project.
When all public institutions introduce programme based budgeting, citizens might be able to become more actively involved in identifying new problems, says Liliana Gisca, who is responsible for national health care financing.
“We will know how much we need and how much we can spend in [a] given field, and what citizens have to gain from this,” she says.
By opening up the planning and administration of the national budget, citizens can become more involved in decision-making about how to spend public funds, which would ultimately improve the quality of public services, says Ms. Verdes.
However, programme based budgeting is not magic and it won’t solve all problems, says the chief of education division from the Ministry of Finance, Oxana Soclea.
We cannot expect too much from it, she says, but rather authorities have to plan budgets carefully, based on what they want to achieve.
“A clear view of what we want to change is crucial,” says Ms. Soclea, who also wants to make sure that local authorities are also brought into the loop.
Programme based budgeting requires a change in attitude about the process behind a national public budget, she says.
“Ultimately, it improves transparency of the budget because it implies a higher level of control and responsibility.”
“It’s good for politicians when they’re trying get approve the budget, but it’s also good for all people - it’s not simply about who is spending how much money, but why, and what are the goals for the country.”