A major way to improve the public finance management situation is the pre-budget submission process for consultation when the budget is being formulated by Nepal’s Ministry of Finance.
Harsh Mahaseth, Assistant Professor at Jindal Global Law School, and a Senior Research Analyst at the Nehginpao Kipgen Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Gauri Goel, student, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India
Public finance management (PFM) is the way certain laws, systems, processes, and rules are used by the authority of a state to gather funds, allocate them to different departments and tiers, use them for public spending, and in the end be accountable and transparent about these payments and receipts. This is done in the annual budget cycle which shows the environment in which these practices are followed.
The public finance management level of Nepal is similar to other countries of its level in terms of per capita income but has a slight edge in certain dimensions. This could be seen through the Open Budget Survey (OBS) report by the Open Budget Partnership. The OBS Report 2019 decreased the score of Nepal to 41 in transparency, 22 in public participation and 48 in budget oversight. It discloses the current picture of transparency and accountability of the government in planning the budget and related information to the public.
It means a change is essential. But, how can this be done?
The reason for Nepal having a low OBS rank was that it failed to publish pre-budget statements and reports around the year in a timely manner which would have explained its policies and outcomes. There is continuing weak oversight during the planning and implementation stage of the budget in Nepal. No platform actively engages with underrepresented or vulnerable groups in the consultations provided by the government for the budget, which should be given priority.
Another reason for the low rank could be the influences from the past when budget delays were contributed by political deadlocks. In the present scenario, due to high fragmentation in votes and weak commitment to pursue political reforms, the governments have overarching policy goals which do not have a consensus on how to be tackled.
Published in: OnlineKhabar
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