Two-year budgets to offer long term ‘dividends’

| 30/10/2017 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The minister of finance has said that the adoption of a two-year budget cycle will not only allow government ministers to devote more time to developing policy and to the needs of constituents but it will “yield significant dividends in terms of the efficiency and productivity”. Delivering the government’s first ever two-year spending plan last Friday, Roy McTaggart said that the annual budget cycle had been “too arduous” and the “documents overwhelming” but now his Cabinet colleagues could spend more time being policy makers. 

“Moving to a two-year budget will allow policy makers and public sector managers to devote more time and effort in the execution and delivery of policies and services and less time ‘budgeting’,” the finance minister said.

“We strongly believe that this change will yield significant dividends in terms of the efficiency and productivity of both the legislative and executive branches of our public service. For years legislators have complained that the budget process was too arduous and that the supporting documentation provided was overwhelming.”

McTaggart said amendments to the Public Management and Finance Law (PMFL) in 2015 and 2017 had paved the way for the change to two years and also switching the financial years back to a calendar year, freeing up politicians and civil servants alike, which result in better reporting on previous budgets.

“When the 2020 and 2021 budgets are presented we expect there will be a significant difference in the format and type of information presented, as we seek to establish a clear framework for tracking, reporting and evaluating Agency performance using key indicators,” he said. “A strong emphasis will be placed on what is being delivered rather than just what we plan to do. We, as legislators, and indeed the wider public will get more robust information on the actual performance of public sector agencies,” he promised.

This is the first time that the budgets for two financial years are being presented within a single appropriation bill and the first time that the Legislative Assembly will be asked to approve, during a single meeting, government’s budgets for two financial years. It is still not yet clear whether the parliament will meet for Finance Committee again next year, which has been the only annual opportunity for open public scrutiny of government spending.

See the minister deliver the budget address starting at 1:27:45 after the policy statement by the premier, on the CIGTV video below.

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Category: Government Finance, Politics

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