MIFTAH and Ministry of Social Development sign memorandum of understanding on advancing national fiscal transparency standards
Minister Dr. Ibrahim Shaer, on behalf of the Ministry of Social Development, and Dr. Lily Feidy (CEO), on behalf of MIFTAH, signed a joint memorandum of understanding on January 15 in order to strengthen cooperation between the two parties. The MoU comes as part of the ministry’s new strategy and transition from management of social affairs to advancing social development in its plans, programs, budgets and structures. The memo is a manifestation of advancing the strategic partnership between the two parties within the Oxfam-funded project “Finance for Development” and beyond.
The two parties said they were eager to institutionalize partnership and cooperation so as to promote a participatory approach in formulating fiscal policies and guaranteeing broad and active social participation in the preparation of the public budget in line with standards of international transparency for budgets. They are also looking to promote the role of citizens and targeted sectors in setting and monitoring fiscal policies towards guarantying that they are tangible and meet basic needs.
Dr. Shaer stressed on the ministry’s keenness to prepare a participatory budget that allows citizens to identify priorities and determine projects, pointing out that the Ministry of Social Development was the first ministry to prepare a citizens’ budget to promote transparency and best invest in available resources.
Furthermore, Dr. Feidy expressed pride in the ministry and its cooperation with MIFTAH. She said this newly-signed agreement was an extension of the two prior agreements between the parties in the past two years. She thanked Minister Shaer and the ministry team, represented by Daoud Al Deek, assistant deputy of administrative development and planning, Anwar Hamam, assistant deputy for directorate affairs in the northern districts and budget director Hanadi Barahma, in addition to thanking Oxfam for its support.
This agreement is in line with the strategic approaches of and coordinated efforts with MIFTAH, aimed at further lobbying and advocacy for public policies that guarantee justice and equality within the context of promoting good governance in Palestine.
It should be noted that cooperation between the Ministry of Social Development and MIFTAH resulted in a number of achievements including: the release of the 2016 and 2017 Citizens’ Budget, with ongoing work on the 2018 budget. A guidebook on preparing the citizens budget of the Ministry was also published. The institutionalization of this work represents the first step in the transition towards participatory budgeting and planning.