Representatives of the two undersigned organizations attended the press conference held by the Ministry of Finance on Wednesday, October 1, 2014, to display the “2014-2015 Citizens Budget“. It is a document prepared by the Ministry to define the key concepts and terms that are supposed to help citizens to find out the main outlines of the revenue and expenditure policies in the general budget of the state.
The Citizens Budget is one of the most important methods used internationally for the dissemination of the state budget documents, and the access of information on income and expenditure to the citizens. This method enhances the role of the citizen to hold ministerial and municipal officials responsible with regard to complying with the budget.
The two undersigned organizations confirm the importance of the effort exerted in order to reproduce and develop the “Citizens Budget,” which Egypt did not experience except for 2010. It discloses some figures and data, which constitute the most important published official documents that support the right of citizens to know and understand the trends of the economic policies of the state. Needless to say, they can later help citizens evaluate the performance of the next budget policies, and monitor the implementation of its items.
The “Citizens Budget” was published at the end of the maximum period allowed, which is required not later than three months after the adoption of the budget in accordance with the international standards and the Guide to Transparency in Government Budget Reports issued by the International Budget Partnership.
On the other hand, the two undersigned organizations emphasize the importance of launching the Citizens Budget in the coming years on the basis of genuine partnerships by creating more open and effective space to the civil society organizations concerned with the budget issue. This process can achieve the engagement expected of civil society in economic policy-making, particularly to ensure a wider space for citizens.
Therefore, the two organizations took the initiative to prepare a preliminary draft that includes the most important comments and observations on the “Citizens Budget” provided by the Ministry of Finance. In addition, it includes a number of important observations on: the mechanism of presentation and its suitability; simplifying the information related to the general budget; publishing and advertising policy; measuring its impact on public. Finally, it concludes a number of important recommendations on how to develop and introduce the content. The draft will be sent to those concerned in the Ministry of Finance to receive their comments before publishing an in-depth overview of the “Citizens Budget.”
- Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights
- Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression