Budget Department Ministry of Finance

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Media journalist Participate in one day learning course "Know your budget"

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Twenty media journalists from Afghanistan working in leading media companies in Kabul, Afghanistan were selected to participate in the one day interactive learning course event titled ‘know your budget’ held on 14 March 2012, in Kabul Star Hotel and organized in joint partnership with the Ministry of Finance and UNDP Making Budgets and Aid Work Project.  Through this learning course, the journalists learnt how the MoF prepares its national budget, its relevance and implication at national level, how the budget addresses priorities that will benefit the people of Afghanistan and finally how it promotes sound Public Financial Management.

mbaw3The Director General for Budget, Mr. Ahmad Jalali opened the workshop explaining the importance to involve the media in the budget preparation and execution process.  Experience shows that the media has a crucial role to play to promote transparency and dialogue by focusing public attention on government spending and performance towards achieving development goals.  He goes on to explain that media organizations and journalists can use budget analysis and advocacy as a tool to improve effective governance and reduce poverty by providing coverage on this issue. MoF believes that the public has a right to comprehensive, timely, and useful information on  how the government manages public funds. Experience shows that when ordinary people have the information, skills and opportunities to participate in such processes, there are notable improvements in governance and poverty reduction.  An important message shared in his speech was that the MoF in particular the Budget Department, encourages the coordination, involvement and participation of media journalists in important fiscal discussions through such forums and  training workshops.

The journalists were handed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) booklet titled ‘Know Your Budget’ that explains in simple language the budget formulation process through 10 questions.  The booklet was prepared with technical assistance from the MBAW Project. In addition, MBAW Project experts providing technical support to MoF Budget Units, gave presentations on Fiscal Challenges, Risk and Transparency, Budget Reforms introduced and achievements made by the MoF.  One can learn more about these presentation by clicking on the learning link below. At the end of the course, H.E Mr. Omar Zakhilwal, Mister of Finance provided certificates signed by him to the proud journalists.

This event gains relevance especially in the backdrop of the Open Budget Index (OBI) survey that Afghanistan is a part of to ensure fiscal transparency and accountability by encouraging  easy access to the National Budget through public forums. Over the last two years Afghanistan has made impressive progress in its fiscal and budget transparency. This progress was recognized by the Open Budget Index (OBI) which compares the fiscal transparency of 94 different countries around the world. Afghanistan has improved its rating from 8 percent in 2008 to 21 percent in 2010 and is likely to jump to 30 percent  in 2012. This increase could be explained largely due to the fact that the MoF now publishes more comprehensive In-Year Reports and a Mid-Year Review, and makes publicly available an Audit Report that previously was only for internal use. However, further improvements  are required to increase the rating  by holding public hearings during budget discussions.

The MBAW Project supports MoF to ensure that these documents are prepared well and in a timely manner and also made accessible to the public on a regular basis. The project supports the idea that fiscal transparency, a key OBI indicator,  allows for better-informed debate  by both policymakers and the public about the design and results of fiscal policy, and establishes accountability for its implementation. In strengthening credibility and public understanding of macroeconomic policies and choices, fiscal transparency fosters more favorable access to domestic and international capital markets.

Learning Links:

Budget FAQ Know your Budget English Download

PPT on Fiscal Challenges and Transparency Download

PPT on Budget Reforms Download