- By Than Phyo Naing [Kanyingyo]
The incumbent government elected by the people had taken its office for nearly two years. On the study of the national spending since the very advent of reign of the new government, to be exact, April 2016 four laws had been promulgated, namely—Union Budget Law [Amendment Law], 2016, Additional Budget Allotment Law of the Union, 2016, Union Budget Law 2017 and Additional Budget Allotment Law of the Union, 2017.
A new initiative for the change of financial year period
Designation of the period from 1st October 2018 to 30th September 2019 as the new fiscal year is underway. Union budget for six-month period in the meantime, that is, from 1st April to the end of September 2018 prior to the change into the new fiscal year and the Union Budget Law, 2018 [Draft] are being put forward to Hluttaw for discussion. Only in July and August it will be discussed again for the new financial year when it will commence to be introduced.
Financial commission meeting held; policies laid down
On 9 January 2018, just prior to putting forth the Union Budget Law [Draft] to Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, the Financial Commission meeting 1/2018 headed by President of the State was held at the meeting hall of the Presidential Palace. At the meeting, the President gave an instruction not to demand more budget allotment for normal and lump sum expenditures of departments during the six-month period from April to September 2018 as the remaining 4 month-period apart from the first two months are in the rainy season, to reduce spending for the purchase of machines to be bought with foreign exchanges as much as possible, and to demand for the budget just for the machines to be bought during the designated period in accord with the tender rules and regulations, in purchasing machineries as well.
The Union Government put forth the Union Budget Estimate and 2018 Union Budget Law [Draft] at the session of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw held on 15th January 2018. Now is the time when the ministries are putting forward to the Hluttaw concerning their respective budget estimates and the projects to be performed.
Respective committees formed by Pyidaungsu Hluttaw will scrutinize the submissions before they are to be discussed again in the Hluttaw. Only after that, a report must be submitted to the Hluttaw so that the parliamentarians could make discussions concerning approval, refusal and reduction of expenditures to be submitted by the executive board. After then, the Hluttaw representatives who will participate in discussions must make detailed scrutiny and approval in accord with the authority conferred upon the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
Choosing tasks in priority to be performed
The Scrutiny Committee has to scrutinize the budgets submitted by departments via the Union Government because some were found to be more expensive than local prices, with some found to be less than the actual amounts. Scrutiny was made with a view to avoiding wastage of national revenues. Provided that excess amounts are found, they have to be reduced and if less amounts are found to have been demanded they have to be granted more again. Tasks to be implemented in the spheres such as education and health, tasks for prevention of natural disasters such as floods, torrential rains and landslides to be faced in the process of climate changes and tasks for maintaining and strengthening dams and embankments are to be prioritized.
Performing the tasks of public affair services
Priorities must be given to the national revenue to be spent for disbursement of agricultural loans and distribution of pedigree seeds, pesticides and fertilizers, for farmers which occupy 70 per cent of the entire national populace. Industrial projects need to be included in building up the nation so that construction of road and bridge network and creation of job opportunities can be implemented, with the increase of daily income included.
Responsibility of legislative sector
Such performances will be the good and strong principles for the Union Budget Law to be promulgated in coming financial year 2018. By reducing unnecessary expenditures after detailed scrutiny, Hluttaw and executive bodies should perform the duties for the sake of the national interest, without bribery and corruption.
Later after the promulgation of the Union Budget Law undergoing the process of careful scrutiny, reduction and refusal, as for the departments which must successfully implement projects on the ground situations they must deal with spending the national revenues frugally with the senses of responsibility and accountability so that people’s anxieties over the national economy can be erased.
Responsibilities of regional auditors’ offices
It needs to have expenditures of enterprises under implementation on the ground audited as to whether they have been in agreement with the budget allotment granted by Hluttaw and they keep up with the designated standards. As for the departments, it needs to carefully examine as to whether the respective departments performed in accord with rules and regulations in inviting tenders, the initial process of implementation of the projects. Simultaneously, it needs to examine as to whether tender winners have been chosen without doing above board, that is, in dishonest ways by exercising the practices of cronyism.
Actual reports and discussion for the people
As for the Union Auditor General of the Administrative Board to examine the actual expenditure of respective departments on the ground, it is of great importance to strictly examine the statistics, to accurately put forward its findings to Pyidaungsu Hluttaw in accord with duties assigned so that the people will be well convinced of spending the national revenues collected from the people. It is an important factor. Based on the findings of the authenticated audit report, it can be discussed again in the Hluttaw so that warnings to the departments and making advantages and disadvantages known to the public can be made. Every investigation and examination is required to be free from practices of bribery and corruption. That system is called check and balance among the executive body from the legislative body.
To sum it up, the national budgets granted from the national revenues must be for the sake of the people. Moreover, with the changing political systems and times departments are responsible to frugally spend the national budget allotments and so as not to meet wastages. Over spending budgets, Hluttaws are constantly to monitor, transferring cases found, if ever, to the judicial sector for taking legal actions in accord with the existing rules and laws in order that responsible persons will learn to effectively spend the national revenues and the entire national populace can enjoy rights they deserve, to the full.
Khin Maung Oo