24. Monitoring the Budget
Budget monitoring will soon become the subject of the day in the
The wind of revolt and the need for a true democracy that are
currently sweeping the Arab Machrek and Maghreb will give added
legitimacy to the demands of the citizens to oversee directly the
usage of public funds in their country.
dilapidations of public funds by unscrupulous dictators like Ben Ali,
Mobarak and Kaddafi, and the cohorts that they assembled around
them for that purpose.
But budget monitoring is a science that must be learnt like any other
one. The young and the no so young revolutionaries will have to go or
return to school, sooner or later, to learn the techniques, or at least
some elements of them, that will enable them to oversee the usage
of billions of dollars of public funds in their country.
Authorities have never encouraged the citizens in this direction nor
have they been willing to share some essential information with them
relative to the budget.
Obviously a great deal has to be done to remedy this situation.
To start with, all our universities should include, in their curriculum, the
study of participative governance, the national budget and the
Furthermore our NGOs should consider conducting regular
internships on these subjects.
a National Plan and a National Budget Monitoring Citizens' Authority.
To provide an example of the introduction of budget monitoring for the first
time in a country we publish below some extracts from the “Philippines National
Budget Monitoring Report”. For the readers who would be interested to learn
more on the subject we recommend accessing the site at http://pdf.usaid.
The strategy of the project
was to develop a whole that is greater than the sum of its pre-existing parts by:
governance and accountability;
2. Deepening capacity in civil society to undertake budget
monitoring and use it as a tool for accountability; and
3. Prompting government to respond to CSO monitoring and
advocacy by accepting at least some recommendations of or acting on
concerns raised by stakeholders in the national budget to make better
substantive policy choices and/or make budget processes more
4. In terms of immediate beneficiaries, the project targeted groups
that were already working in areas related to budget monitoring, as
noted above. But it was also designed to attract others that might
have an interest in the field but had not yet entered it. Similarly, it
was centered on Manila, on the assumption that most groups concerned
with the national budget would have offices there, but sought to reach
out to interested organizations outside the capital. In terms of inputs, the
project supported both training and applied practice in budget
monitoring in order to deepen and hasten project impact.