Despite Africa’s efforts to modernise budget systems so as to effectively achieve socio-economic reforms, limited fundamental financial management systems tend to cripple the budget processes.
The deficit in implementing and executing national budgets across African governments as well as weak laws are undermining the effectiveness of reforms undertaken to promote transparency in budget processes.
The Director General of National Budget in the Ministry of Finance, Elias Bayingana, said that Africa’s budget dependence on development partners also limits the flexibility of member countries to decide on allocations in the budget according to priorities.
“We cannot determine priorities that will help us deliver services to our people,” he said adding that this promotes policies that do not reflect the needs of the public.
He was speaking in Kigali, yesterday, during the ongoing 7th annual seminar of the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) which brings together senior budget officials of African ministries.
Most African countries rely on donor funds to finance their budgets despite increased push to increase domestic revenues and reduce dependency.
Baiyngana further noted that weaknesses in planning and implementing systems, the capacities of personnel and lack of political will in many African countries had led to poor budget implementation and execution, creating shortfalls in service delivery to the people.
“This is why we need appropriate solutions to these challenges if we are to see our budgets working for our people,” he noted.
CABRI aims at putting to rest these challenges through experience sharing across the Africa region.
Pamela Chibonga, the Chief Budget Analyst in Zambia, noted that the creation of institutional framework for integrating development planning within the annual budget would promote participation of the private sector and key stakeholders in development planning and budget processes.
Gert van der Linde of the World Bank noted that poor compliance with existing legislation and weak financial management had led to poor accountability in many Africa countries striking hard on budget execution and painting a dark image on the economic development outlook of the region in general.
Africa’s downtrodden public financial management systems could be reversed through good basic accounting disciplines, encouraging accountability, risk management controls and compliance to the appropriate law.