Public Participation & Legislature Oversight of Fiscal Policy

ICGFM Conference, December 2012
Nicola Smithers, World Bank Institute

GIFT - Public Participation in Fiscal Policy
What
Citizens should have the right and they, and all nonState actors, should have effective opportunities to participate directly in public debate and discussion over the design and implementation of fiscal policies.

Why

Strengthen the effectiveness, equity, stability and sustainability of fiscal policies
Develop normative guidance, generate evidence, promote dialogue and support, and advance practice

Objective

Existing norms
Instruments IMF Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency International Budget Partnership Open Budget Survey 2012 OECD Best Practices for Budget Transparency PEFA Indicator PI-19 IPU Good Practice Norms Sufficient time for consultation on changes to laws and policies Independent experts invited to assess fiscal forecasts Public engagement by executive in budget formulation and execution Public testimony to legislative committees on budgets Public engagement by supreme audit institution Finance ministry should promote citizen and NGO understanding of budget process Procurement complaints mechanism Access to representatives eg.participation in prelegislative scrutiny, right of petition, grievance procedures

GIFT How – Potential Elements of Good Practice
General
• Legal framework • Guidance to public & stakeholders • Stakeholder mapping and balance of interests • Sufficient information in timely and accessible manner • Multiple mechanisms of engagement, and measures of success • Sufficient time • Report inputs received and process undertaken

Specific /scope
• Annual budget cycle • Revenue and expenditure policy decisions • Design and delivery of public services • Design and delivery of public investment projects • Institutional and staff competency

GIFT Next Steps
• Synthesize and generate evidence, experience and lessons on public participation in fiscal policy • Assemble a multi-disciplinary working group of GIFT stewards, and demand and supply-side budget actors to engage on the issue and • Consult with a broad range of stakeholders

GIFT - Legislative Oversight of Fiscal Policy
What
The authority to raise taxes and incur expenditure on behalf of the public should be vested in the legislature. No government revenue should be raised or expenditure incurred or committed without the approval of the legislature through the budget or other legislation. The legislature should be provided with the authority, resources, and information required to effectively hold the executive to account for the use of public resources Legislative oversight identified as a major gap in the normative architecture, and area of weak performance Seek collaboration with Inter-Parliamentary Union, consult with experts and stakeholders, develop guide to good practices

Why

Steps

GIFT - Potential Elements of Good Practice

Potential
– – – –

• Fiscal powers of the Legislature and the Executive
– – – – Tax Expenditure Authorities clearly defined Funding of oversight bodies

• Legislative oversight of Annual Budget Cycle
Budget Authorization In-year Budget Implementation End of Year Review Fiscal Policies outside Budget Cycle

• Public Participation in legislative oversight
– Direct public participation – Freedom of media

• Transparency, Accountability of Legislature in its oversight
– Fiscal information made public – Audited annual report – Budget voting records

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