EAI Special Report_ The First Step towardParticipatory Budgeting in Myanmar
Over the last two years EAI has been working with civil society organizations in Myanmar as a part of the “Building Civil Society Capacity in Myanmar Through Budget Monitoring” program. As part of this program, four Myanmar partner organizations, the Open Myanmar Initiative, Renaissance Institute, Sandhi Governance Institute, and the Yangon School of Political Science, conducted research on the budget process in Myanmar. Each organization focused on a different stage of the budget cycle and looked at different levels of government. The Open Myanmar Initiative investigated the budget approval process in the Myanmar national legislature. The Renaissance Institute focused on the budget planning process at the national level to see how budget proposals make their way to the legislature. Sandhi Governance Institute studied how budgets were implemented at the local government level. And the Yangon School of Political Science researched how the budget process in the Education Ministry worked in the course of building new schools. All of these reports are valuable as they represent one of the first steps in revealing how budgeting is being done by the Myanmar government and will assist civil society in illuminating this process to encourage good governance in the country.
Quotes from the Report
"Although revenue has been increasing in recent years, at the same time, expenditures are also increasing. The problems causing low budget credibility is the lack of transparency in tax collection and allocation and spending of expenditures. And then the government is also very tightly controlling the budget which means that the general public doesn’t know anything about the budget." - Renaissance Institute
"The NLD government should make the allocated budget of all states and regional divisions accessible to all. If possible, the allocated budget format should be comprehensive and easy to understand." -Sandhi Governance Institute
"The parliament should open up the committee hearings to the public and set up the committee system that requires each select committee to hear the relevant ministry’s assessment of budget proposals. Holding public hearings would increase the transparency of the parliament and strengthen its role in government oversight." -Open Myanmar Initiative
"All of the projects were initiated by government departments. There were no discussion with citizens to propose a project and no room for them." -Yangon School of Political Science
Various personnel from the Open Myanmar Initiative, Renaissance Institute, Sandhi Governance Institute, and the Yangon School of Political Science contributed to the research and writing of each report. Professor Jae Hyeok Shin (Korea University) served as the head of the research team and reviewed all the reports to offer his suggestions on ways to improve the methodology and writing. EAI provided support in the form of typesetting and proofreading for the production of the reports.