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Budget making

Budget-making is the vehicle by which government should establish overall spending limits, reconcile competing priorities and translate policy objectives into detailed spending plans. This page, which forms part of the Governance Theme section on 'public financial management and accountability', includes a series of key texts that explore this concept.

Key texts

Foster, M., Fozzard, A., Naschold, F. and Conway, T. 2002, 'How, when and why does poverty get budget priority? Expenditure in five African countries', ODI Synthesis Paper, WP 168, London.
This working paper from the Overseas Development Institute synthesises the key findings from case studies in five countries (Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda), each of which examined how public expenditure management has been linked to poverty reduction policy goals. Each of the case study countries experienced major transformations over the course of the 1990s.
Full document available online

Le Houerou, P. & Taliercio, R. 2002, 'Medium term expenditure frameworks: From concept to practice: Preliminary lessons from Africa', World Bank, Africa Region Working Paper Series No. 28, World Bank, Washington D.C.
This recent study of MTEF experience in Africa identifies the importance of taking into account other aspects of budget management ( in particular budget execution), the need to see MTEF as an enhancement/extension to the budget process rather than a parallel exercise, the requirement for effective political engagement, especially cabinet, and the importance of broader participation and transparency.
Full document available online

Oxford Policy Management 1999, 'Medium term expenditure frameworks-panacea or dangerous distraction,' OPM Review.
Today, Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks (MTEF) is often proposed as a solution not only to the inadequacies of planning and budgeting systems but also to the broader performance problems of government. This research by Oxford Policy Management, questions whether such a sophisticated mechanism is really the best place to start in reforming public expenditure management systems.
Full document available online

Foster, M. and Fozzard, A. 2000 'Aid and Public Expenditure: A Guide,' Overseas Development Institute Working Paper no. 141, (also included in DFID Economist Manual 2000)
This study by Mick Foster and Adrian Fozzard of the Overseas Development Institute suggests that donors are (1) beginning to co-ordinate their aid (2) offering budgetary support at increasingly macro levels (3) focusing their attention of the effectiveness of governments due to new development targets.
Full document available online

The International Budget Project, 'Analysis of the Executive Budget,' Budget Information Service, South Africa.
This report is a compilation of some examples of budget work undertaken by NGOs. The International Budget Project solicited these examples and then sought to place them in a wider context, divided between organisational development & training, and analysis & advocacy.
Full document available online

Inter-Parliamentary Union 2000, 'Key issues and guidelines,' from the seminar on 'Parliament and the budgetary process, including from a gender perspective,' Nairobi, Kenya, 22-24 May 2000.
An integral part of a democracy is transparency in a countrys spending. As such the budget is regarded as the most important policy statement made by the Executive, reflecting the core values underlying national policy. Should Parliament therefore be more involved in the process of formulating the budget? Should MPs be more proactive in influencing budget procedures and ensuring they are gender-balanced? These key issues emerged at a seminar organised by the Inter-Parliamentary Union in May 2000 and are discussed in this paper.
Full document available online

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