LETTER | The Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (Ideas) applauds the government’s efforts in implementing best practices in their preparations to table the national budget in Parliament on Oct 11 this year.
In August, the National Budget Office (NBO) invited Ideas to seek input on the institutional reforms for the Budget 2020 speech.
Ideas presented several recommendations on eight issues related to the integrity and transparency of the budget.
Among the issues and recommendations that were discussed are political financing, government procurement, fiscal responsibility, federal-state fiscal allocation, subsidies and the bumiputera agenda.
The underlying principle behind most of the recommendations was for the government to practise disclosure, transparency and accountability in its decision-making processes.
Ideas also made a few recommendations on how the government should improve its score in the Open Budget Survey (OBS) that will be published by the end of 2019.
Suggestions on improving the OBS include publishing the Mid-Year Review, the Pre-Budget Statement and the Citizen’s Budget in the next cycle.
Other proposals also include improving the comprehensiveness of the Enacted Budget and the Executive Budget Proposal, which consists of the Budget Speech, Estimated Federal Expenditure, Estimated Federal Revenue and Economic Report.
The government is committed to ensuring a more transparent budgeting process in Buku Harapan.
We are encouraged that the NBO is seriously looking into an internationally recognised standard like the OBS, and are committed to improving our score.
We would like to thank the NBO at the Finance Ministry for involving civil society in the budget planning process.
We look forward to giving more input throughout the budget preparation process leading up to the budget announcement later this October.
AIRA NUR ARIANA AZHARI is a senior executive in democracy and governance at the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs.
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