MIFTAH
Saturday, 28 May. 2022
 
Your Key to Palestine
The Palestinian Initiatives for The Promotoion of Global Dialogue and Democracy
 
 
 

Ramallah – MIFTAH recently held a discussion session, attended by the Civil Society Team on Public Budget Transparency, with the five following ministries: Finance, Social Development, Interior, Labor and Health, to discuss the 2021 Citizens’ Budget and interventions from the different ministries. The attendees discussed ways of developing the prospects of future cooperation in a bid to promote dialogue between civil society and decision-makers on fiscal data, expenditure reports, citizens’ budgets and social justice indicators in fiscal policies.

MIFTAH presented a number of its interventions in cooperation with the various ministries, including the release of the 2021 Citizens’ Budget, capacity-building for the budgetary teams, the integration of gender indicators in the Citizens’ Budget and preparation of the budget manual for ministries. The interventions were aimed at institutionalizing the values of transparency and accountability in decision-making centers, in addition to promoting them among citizens through the periodic publication of fiscal data, simplified for their perusal.

The ministries discussed several challenges that could infringe on their progression in this regard, most prominently the rapid political changes that could potentially threaten access to international assistance and funding to the public treasury. This, in turn, could render many development projects with the potential for tangible impact on citizens’ lives, vulnerable to the political “tugs-of-war” in the region. The participants also shed light on the importance of identifying priorities and government programs in a way that responds to citizens’ needs, through encouraging coordination between the various sectors with which the ministries’ work.

The attendees pointed out that the citizens’ budget has several positive aspects, especially how it promoted some ministries to review their strategic plans and formulate tangible and achievable goals in spite of the public treasury’s financial crisis. They said it also urged the ministries to review the structures of their budget and planning departments with the objective of upgrading them to coincide with the scope of their duties, especially in terms of developing indicators that could create fiscal policies more consistent with citizens’ priorities.

The ministries pointed out the importance of expanding cooperation between government and civil society institutions, including overcoming obstacles, especially technical ones, which could prevent the implementation of citizen-oriented development programs, which reap more benefits for citizens on one hand, and promote the standards of transparency and accountability, on the other.

It should be noted that in 2021, MIFTAH worked with five ministries, three in the social sector, with the goal of impacting public fiscal policies from a social justice perspective and pressing for the promotion of standards of transparency and accountability. The objective is to foster values of good governance within the sphere of public action through providing data and releasing budgets and comparative annual and biannual expenditure reports, in addition to issuing demand papers, which shed light on spending gaps in order to bridge them. What’s more, MIFTAH seeks to enhance cooperation between government institutions and CSOs through championing the language of dialogue between the parties and therefore undermining opportunities for shrinking interactive spaces between monitoring parties and the executive authority.

Moreover, MIFTAH works to enhance the performance of budgeting teams in the aforementioned ministries through digitalizing the Citizens’ Budget, thereby allowing for quick publication and data in accordance with international standards for the promotion of budgetary transparency.

 
 
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