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Pakistan s budgeting system shows remarkable improvement.

ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan's rank in Open Budget Index has increased from 38 in 2008 and 2010 to 58 in 2012 among 100 countries.

"Out of the hundred countries surveyed by International Budget Partnership - an independent budget transparency survey organization, Pakistan has scored 58, which reflects significant improvement and demonstrates the Government's commitment to achieve budget comprehensiveness and transparency", Rana Asad Amin Spokesman and Advisor to Finance Ministry in a statement issued here.

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, the statement added.

"This is a big achievement for the government's economic managers of the finance Ministry as well as people of Pakistan", Rana Asad Amin said.

He added that such kind of achievements of the government would signal good image internationally and help further restore confidence of the foreign investors and attract more investments for the benefit of the country.

The statement said that the International good practices including 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.

It added that 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-...-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-...-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.
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Publication:Balochistan Times (Baluchistan Province, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Jan 31, 2013
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