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Spectrum ran Parliamentary Debate Session on the theme of ‘Budget Transparency & Citizen’s Budgets: Progress in Myanmar and Tools for Decision Makers’

With the coordination of Amyotha Hluttaw, Spectrum conducted parliamentary debate session on November 9th ,2017 at Amyotha Hluttaw, Nay Pyi Daw under the title of ‘Budget Transparency & Citizen’s Budgets: Progress in Myanmar and Tools for Decision Makers’.

Debate session aims to have more rooms for transparency in government process especially in budget sector by increasing public participation in citizen budget.

Citizen budget, on the other hand, is the engine that drives the economy and government’s work. The structure of the budget, the budget process, and the way it is executed play a significant role in economic growth and sustainable development.

International Budget Partnership (IBP), a non-profit research organization, assess countries budget process through engaging with independent civil society researchers in over 100 countries over the course of 18 months.

According to IBP 2015 survey, Myanmar ranks two out of 100 on budget transparency, with “scant” information provided to the public and very few budget documents made available within “a timeframe consistent with international standards”. In 2018, IBP will release new Open Budget Index 2017. Myanmar hopes to get higher score than previous round.

Since 2015, Myanmar Citizen Budget is released to public yearly and Myanmar‘s 3rd Citizen’s Budget (2017-2018) is available now. On July 29, 2016 Myanmar’s National League of Democracy-led government finally released its 12-Point Economic Policy outlining key priorities under the country’s new reform strategy. Among these were commitments to strengthen public financial management and to create an open and transparent budget process.

U Aye Thar Aung, Deputy Speaker of Amyotha Hluttaw gave opening speech at November 9th debate session. “Transparency and accountability is important for all the parliament members in budget planning process. So analyzing and checking carefully for proposed projects is our main responsibility as MPs. MPs have to make sure budgets are allocated properly to improve related sectors or regions in sustainable way.”

Spectrum’s Executive Director David Allan gave a brief presentation on Budget Transparency and Citizen Budgets in Myanmar” covering the topics of “Myanmar’s performance in the OBS (Open Budget Survey)”, “Steps that Myanmar can take to improve performance”, “Status of Citizen’s Budgets in States and Regions in Myanmar” and “Features in International Citizen’s Budgets that can improve Myanmar’s citizen’s budgets”.

Estimated 140 MPs from Amyotha Hluttaw and Pyithu Hluttaw actively participated in Spectrum Debate Session. And Budget Guide for Decision Maker, Budget Transparency Cartoon Book and Handbook on Parliamentary Ethics and Conduct; A guide for parliamentarians are distributed to all participants. This is a very first step Spectrum coordinated with Amyotha Hluttaw to promote Budget Transparency Concept in Myanmar Hluttaws.

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