Public budgets translate a government’s policies, political commitments,
and goals into decisions on how much revenue to raise, how it plans to
raise it, and how to use these funds to meet the country’s competing
needs, from bolstering security to improving health care to alleviating
A budget system that functions well is crucial to developing sustainable
fiscal policies and economic growth.
In many countries, economic problems are exacerbated by weak
budget systems and faulty budget choices. Given its wide-ranging
implications for a country’s people, the budget should be the subject of
significant scrutiny and debate.
every one of its citizens, it can have the greatest impact on certain
groups, such as the elderly, children, the poor, rural residents, and
The well being and prospects of these people can hinge greatly upon
government decisions on raising and spending money.
Budget cuts tend to have the greatest impact on programs that benefit
the poor and vulnerable, as other items, such as interest on the debt,
the public-sector wage bill, or military expenditures, are more likely to
have first claim on scarce funds.
whether for minorities, children, or the disabled—weak expenditure and
program management can result in funds never reaching the intended
The lack of political power among these marginalized people to hold
their government accountable is another factor in poor budget
execution (i.e., after the budget is passed, how money is actually raised
budget cycle not only because they can contribute valuable technical
skills to the process but they also have connections with the community
that enable them to bring critical information about the public’s needs
and priorities to budget debates.
In addition to representing the concerns of marginalized people, civil
society can strengthen and support the ability of the poor and most
vulnerable to participate in the budget process and advocate for