Experts call for reforms on budget openness and participation

Economy

KATHMANDU.
Experts have highlighted the need of reforms on budget transparency, and citizen engagement and oversight in budgetary process of the country for effective and efficient mobilization of public resources. At a virtual dialogue ‘Fiscal openness practices, challenges and opportunities in Nepal’ organized by Freedom Forum on Sunday, Secretary of the National Planning Commission (NPC) Kewal Prasad Bhandari, the keynote speaker, said there are several rooms for reforms in public financial management system of the country with Nepal’s budget transparency score of 41/100 in the Open Budget Survey (OBS-2019) – an independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument. 
Noting that Nepal has a public participation score of 22/100 and a composite oversight score of 48/100, he said highlighting the gaps in the openness of budgetary systems of the country. “A transparent approach to budget planning and implementation strengthens the relationship between public institutions and the people meant to be served”, he said, adding it helps decision-makers prioritize the use of scarce public funds. 
Fiscal transparency matters for effective fiscal management and accountability, knowing accurate pictures of their finances including the costs and benefits of policy changes and potential risks of public finances and improving reliability of the country’s fiscal plans, he added. Referring to Nepal’s OBS-report, he highlighted the need to make the availability of budget documents and information in a timely and comprehensive manner and produce a pre-budget statement and a