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Current processes and future priorities in public financial management reform

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CESD, in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), undertook research into the existing state of subnational public finances and intergovernmental relationships to help build knowledge on the current state of fiscal decentralization in Myanmar, and to promote dialogue on the challenges and opportunities faced by Myanmar’s  Union and subnational governments with public financial management reform.

Fiscal RelationsThe research highlighted some of the current limitations on the State and Region governments’ ability to meet their responsibilities, and their ability to provide more decentralised decision making. Addressing some of these limitations will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of public spending, and ensure community priorities and issues are better reflected in decisions made by government.

The research involved an interactive workshop in February 2016, with public sector officials from across Myanmar discussing the successes and challenges of recent reforms. This was complemented with targeted interviews and consultations with officials and stakeholders involved in the budget process, from the village-tract level and above.

From targeted interviews and consultations with officials and stakeholders involved in public budgetary processes, CESD’s research indicates the need for greater autonomy for the State and Region governments. It also highlights the need for greater integration in project planning and budget cycles between the different levels of government. The capacity of State and Region governments to draft, understand and follow financial regulations was also commonly cited as an obstacle to fiscal autonomy and intergovernmental cooperation.

The research also highlighted some of the challenges in getting input from communities into the budget processes. Limited understanding of public finances, complicated ways for submitting a proposal, and limited transparency of community-funded projects were all noted as factors preventing greater community input.

CESD’s research concluded with a number of recommendations, including a formal clarification of the expected roles of the different levels of government, changes to the annual budget cycles of government, increasing access to information and data, and supporting increased community engagement.

The full report can be downloaded from the link below.

Publication name: Intergovernmental fiscal relations in Myanmar: current processes and future priorities in public financial management reform

Authors: Giles Dickenson-Jones, Lauren Dunn, Cindy JoeleneS Kanay De and Mai Betty

Supported by: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)

Publication date: 2 September 2016

Languages: Myanmar & English

Download the report from the following links: