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Reviewing the 1393 National Budget and 1392 Final Accounts

Activities

With this annual project, EQUALITY for Peace and Democracy (EPD) built on its experience with the Afghans’ Coalition for Transparency and Accountability (ACTA) platform, conducting budget planning consultations with civil society. This project aimed to present a simple and coherent review of the budget so that people can understand the budget and what it means for their daily lives as well as review the quality of services via allocated resources. The budget review also provides further information for the Afghan Houses of Parliament to adequately review and approve the national budget while offering input for national budget planning from a civil society perspective. EPD evaluated the budget against some key indicators based on Open Budget Index, Tokyo Mutual Accountability Framework and fiscal sustainability.

The project entailed several activities that revolved around assessing the 1393 national budget. First and foremost, an independent review of the 1393 national budget was conducted and an independent public expenditure review of 1392 final accounts which further complement the research. The final review includes a brief and coherent overview of the national budget and final accounts and formulate a set of recommendations for key stakeholders. After having finalized the report, the findings were presented to the Houses of Parliament, civil society and media.

Outcomes
The research found relationships between budgeting inefficiency and service delivery ineffectiveness by triangulating thematic patterns of the interviews with budget data and the relevant literature. It can be concluded that four factors in the budget process represent the main impediments for quality education and public health service delivery in the targeted provinces: A lack of discretionary budget in the development budget (34% for FY 1393 (2014)) and low on-budget support (46% in FY 1393 (2014)); a lack of capacity at the provincial level (and to a lesser extent at the central level) as hiring externally funded staff often supersedes capacity building; the ubiquity of corruption as bribery, cronyism, nepotism and embezzlement are still rife while accountability mechanisms such as auditing is ineffective and a government-wide M&E system is absent; and the inability of key stakeholders (particularly the GIRoA) to facilitate a mechanism for provincial budgeting that incorporates the provinces’ needs and requirements and resolves the issue of fragmented and parallel governance ecologies.
 
 
Full details of the research and recommendations are outlined in the report.