Budget Submissions of Line Ministries

Online course: May 21 – June 1, 2018IWorkshop: June 13 – 15, 2018ILjubljana, SloveniaIBudget Preparation and Execution

This learning initiative aimed at strengthening the skills of line ministries (and other budget beneficiaries) in preparing well-elaborated and coordinated budgets, by providing insights into the greater context of budgeting processes and procedures while also explaining organizational and procedural prerequisites needed to support this. Due to insufficient communication between the ministries of finance and line ministries, budgetary reforms are often imposed to line ministries without further explanations and training, which might jeopardize the potential results.

What did you learn?

This learning initiative was designed to support finance officials of line ministries to carry out their tasks within budget preparation process and help them identify prospects for improvement of the existing practices. Moreover this learning initiative was also designed for officials of ministries of finance who deal with line ministries, as its ultimate objective was to provide insights into improvement of budgeting process of central government as a whole.

The learning initiative was delivered as a blended learning course, and it included:

1) E-learning phase: It was delivered between May 21 and June 4, 2018 at the CEF Online Learning Campus (https://www.cef-see.org/olc/). For taking part in it, basic information technology was required (computer/tablet and internet connection).

E-learning phase served as preparation for the face-to-face workshop and it has included two units (each lasting one week). Each unit featured reading materials, short video lectures and interactive exercises, enriched with joint weekly video meetings that allow participants to discuss course content. Expected workload was five hours per week. This phase of the blended learning course was designed to be self-paced, and required participants’ attendance only at the time of joint meetings that will be organized on May 21, 28 and June 4.

2) Face-to-face workshop: The subsequent workshop was delivered at CEF in Ljubljana from June 13 to June 15, 2018. On this occasion we have examined in detail the elements of budget preparation process, and its link to stages of sectoral policy planning cycle. Attention was paid to the organization of internal budget processes in line ministries and procedures that ensure consistency between the sectorial policy plans and annual budgets. We also assessed organization and tasks of finance directorate and sectorial directorates of line ministries, while determining their role in negotiations with the Ministry of Finance over the financial limits for a ministry as a whole (i.e. budget ceilings). Highlighted were possible strategies of line ministries to get its sectorial policies approved within annual budget, as well as strategies of the Ministry of Finance to maintain budgetary discipline.

The workshop provided a ground for sharing experiences and best practices between participants and thematic experts from the SEE region, and beyond.

Since the blended learning course was designed as partaking, the participants were actively engaged in discussions and group exercises, and encouraged to share their country’s experiences and challenges encountered in budget preparation process.

How you benefited?

Upon completing this blended learning course, participants were able to:

  • Explain the role of budget preparation in the overall budgeting cycle and its typical elements and stages, as well as institutions carrying them out,
  • Understand sectorial policy making and its fiscal implications,
  • Elaborate procedures to ensure consistency between strategic and budget documents,
  • Describe coordination challenges linked to budget preparation,
  • Determine elements of well-elaborated budget circulars,
  • Assess importance of negotiations over budget ceilings between line ministries and ministry of finance,
  • Identify strong and weak features of the budget process of line ministries.

Who attended?

Public Officials from the CEF Constituency countries, as well as Armenia, Georgia, and Ukraine were welcome to apply. Invited were those officials who are working at line ministries (and other budget beneficiaries) who actively deal with budget preparation, strategic planning and budget decision-making. Officials working at ministries of finance coordinating and analyzing the budget submissions of different budget beneficiaries were also kindly invited to attend the workshop.

The event was delivered in English and no translation was provided.

Practical information

No fee was charged. Flights, transfers, accommodation, and meals were funded for up to three officials per EU's 2014-2020 Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA II) beneficiary country, and for one official per country from Armenia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, and Slovenia. Applications of additional self-funded candidates from the SEE region (and beyond) were considered, as far as space permits.

Candidates needed to be approved by the CEF; confirmations were sent to selected candidates by May 14.

Leading Experts

  • Duncan Last- CEF Associate Fellow and Former IMF FAD Adviser for SEE 
  • Zuzana Schurer Piovarciova- Analyst at the Analytical Center, Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic
  • Elmer Pals- Budget Policy Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Netherlands
  • Dirk Roelofsen- Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment of the Netherlands

Partners

This learning initiative was supported by:

Ministry of Finance, Slovenia Slovenia's Development Cooperation Safe & WB & EC
Ministry of Finance, the Netherlands