Understanding Baseline vs. New Policy Estimates

Webinar: April 11, 2017IOnlineIRegistration deadline: April 10, 2017IBudget Preparation and Execution

This webinar will be delivered as part of the CEF’s PFM Learning Program aimed to strengthen beneficiary institutions’ capacities to establish well-functioning MTEFs as a key prerequisite for attaining fiscal discipline and consolidation.


Many of countries in SEE region have introduced MTEFs based on a top-down budgeting approach to strengthen fiscal discipline and enable policies prioritization according to political objectives. However, the top-down phase of budget cycle provides optimal results only if it incorporates findings of the bottom-up process.

In annual budgeting, a key question is “what will it cost to continue the activities that have been funded this year?” - these estimates are typically then adjusted by ministries of finance and line ministries to make allocative decisions. With the baseline as the starting point, the main task of governments is to allocate fiscal space to new policy proposals.

With this objective in mind, this webinar will explore how making a distinction between baseline expenditures (i.e. current policies) and those related to new policy initiatives can be essential for structuring budget ceilings. This approach has never been more needed than at the present when in most countries funds for new initiatives is limited, or even non-existent.


The webinar will be an opportunity to discuss how line ministries’ submissions of budget proposals in a form of (i) current and (ii) new initiatives could better direct limited budget allocations towards achievement of policy priorities, and constrain spending to meet medium-term fiscal objectives.

The webinar will examine the tools that can be used for detailed assessment of policy expenditures, and will discuss the implications that might emerge if budgeting procedures and fiscal rules are not followed. Furthermore, the webinar will assess the benefits ministries of finance could gain from presenting to government a costed list of new policy initiatives.

Finally, by presenting the practical experience of Slovenia and Albania, the webinar will explore communication channels and the division of roles and responsibilities between line ministries, ministry of finance and government needed to establish this practice.

Ultimately, by attending this webinar, you will:

  • understand the difference between baseline estimates and new policy initiatives,
  • appraise why this is beneficial for formulating a credible budget and strengthening medium-term budgeting prospective,
  • discuss why is establishment of regulatory framework and fiscal rules prerequisite for the success,
  • examine possible roles and responsibilities of line ministries in formulating budget ceilings,
  • identify compulsory elements of a ‘good’ budget call circular,
  • become familiar with available tools that can be utilized to identify potential savings in current policies and reallocate them to new initiatives,
  • and discuss how ministries of finance can instigate line ministries to find these savings.

The webinar will combine subject matter presentations with question and answer sessions  to enable active engagement of the attendees.


  • Suzanne Flynn, IMF PFM Advisor for SEE (up to 20 min)
  • Saša Jazbec, Ministry of Finance, Slovenia (up to 15 min)
  • Gentian Opre, Ministry of Finance, Albania (up to 15 min)



This webinar is designed for:

  • financial officials working in ministries of finance and line ministries who actively participate in budget preparation and execution processes,
  • public sector officials who are responsible for managing policy programs,
  • officials involved in PFM reforms design,
  • and officials with interest in prospects for improvement of budgetary decision-making processes and procedures.

This webinar is publicly available, and there are no limits on the number of participants per country or organization. Feel free to bring this webinar also to the attention of your colleagues who may find the discussion useful!


Practical information

When: April 11, 2017, at 13:00 CET – the webinar session will open, which is 30 minutes before the official start

Where: From the convenience of your own computer, tablet or smartphone; you are encouraged to jointly connect with your colleagues to the webinar

Language: English

Duration: up to 90 minutes

Participation at this webinar is free of charge.


How to join

To register for this webinar click the “Enroll’’ button on the right-hand side, or simply press here. You will be redirected to the CEF Online Learning Campus, where you need to click the “Enroll’’ button under the title of this webinar. 

Please note that in order to participate at this webinar, you need the WebEX installed to your computer. This will take only a few minutes but may require you to inform your system administrator. For all the necessary information please read the Guidelines on how to attend a webinar before the webinar starts.


This learning initiative is supported by:

International Monetary Fund Ministry of Finance Slovenia