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Moldova

Ensure budgetary transparency (MD0063)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Moldova National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Finance

Support Institution(s): Central Public Authorities, the Ministry of Regional Development and Constructions

Policy Areas

E-Government, Fiscal Transparency, Legislation & Regulation, Open Data

IRM Review

IRM Report: Moldova Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

2.1. Opening of transactional data on the execution of the national public budget components, with monthly frequency and disaggregation until the level of the local public authorities
2.2. Develop an interactive framework on the official website of the Ministry of Finance to reflect the process of tax and customs policy development
2.3. Publishing on the Ministry of Finance’s website the estimates of the medium-term budgetary framework and the draft annual budget laws
2.4. Drafting and publishing on the website of the Ministry of Finance the budget for citizens after the adoption of the Budget Law
2.5. Publishing sectoral spending strategies and annual budgets by domains of competence as well as reports on their implementation
2.6. Publication of open data sets on penitentiary system budgets on the data.gov.md portal;
2.7. Publication of information on the implementation of the National Fund for Regional Development and projects from external sources
Responsible institution: Ministry of Finance
Supporting institution(s): Central Public Authorities, the Ministry of Regional Development and Constructions1
Start date: 4th quarter 2016 End date: 2nd quarter 2018

IRM Midterm Status Summary

2. Ensure budgetary transparency

Commitment Text:

2.1. Opening of transactional data on the execution of the national public budget components, with monthly frequency and disaggregation until the level of the local public authorities

2.2. Develop an interactive framework on the official website of the Ministry of Finance to reflect the process of tax and customs policy development

2.3. Publishing on the Ministry of Finances website the estimates of the medium-term budgetary framework and the draft annual budget laws

2.4. Drafting and publishing on the website of the Ministry of Finance the budget for citizens after the adoption of the Budget Law

2.5. Publishing sectoral spending strategies and annual budgets by domains of competence as well as reports on their implementation

2.6. Publication of open data sets on penitentiary system budgets on the data.gov.md portal;

2.7. Publication of information on the implementation of the National Fund for Regional Development and projects from external sources

Responsible institution: Ministry of Finance

Supporting institution(s): Central Public Authorities, the Ministry of Regional Development and Constructions[Note133: After the Government reorganization in Summer 2017, this Ministry ceased to exist and the responsibilities from this ministry were transferred to the newly-created Ministry of Agriculture, Regional Development and Environment.]

Start date: 4th quarter 2016 End date: 2nd quarter 2018

Context and Objectives

In 2011 Moldova published a detailed online database of public expenditure[Note134: World Bank, Open Budget Portal, http://wbi.worldbank.org/boost/country/moldova], available on the websites of the Ministry of Finance (MoF) and the E-Government Center. Officially, MoF follows the international standards[Note135: World Bank Independent Evaluation Group, http://ieg.worldbankgroup.org/sites/default/files/Data/reports/performance_based_budgeting_bb.pdf] for program budgeting. However, an Expert-Grup (NGO) representative stated that data on budget execution is categorized according to economic, and functional-organizational (line-items) criteria, and only upon request on program budgeting.

Although Moldova publishes seven of the eight key budget documents, with the exception of the Mid-Year Review, on data.gov.md, the documents are not easily understandable. Furthermore, agency and ministry websites are often not well developed, despite the guidelines outlined in Government Decision no. 188. The absence of a common webpage structure across institutions makes it difficult to find budget data. According to the interviewed budget data users, disaggregated data are difficult to find: 'A lot of data are collected, but the government doesn’t know how to make them citizen-friendly.' Finally, based on the desk research conducted by the IRM researcher, even if the website of the MoF was modernized in 2017, data are often not published in open data formats; they are either scanned or published as PDFs/excel files.

The Government is making an effort to improve this situation: in addition to the Citizens’ Budget, which has been published since 2015, the MoF website hosts visual aids (e.g., graphs and charts) and provides information on the budget components and the different stages of the budgetary process. However, when assessed on how comprehensive and useful the Citizens’ Budget was, it received a score of 50 out of 100 (or limited).

Additionally, budget data on the penitentiary system has not been published since 2012 on data.gov.md. In the past five years, all relevant documents were published on the website of the Department of Penitentiary Institutions (DPI), but not on data.gov.md.

This commitment addresses the need for budgetary transparency and lists the following activities: 1) open transactional data on the execution of national public budget components on a monthly basis, 2) develop an interactive framework on MoF’s website about the tax process and customs policy development, 3) publish estimates of budgetary framework and annual draft budget laws, 4) draft and publish the budget for citizens, 5) publish sectoral spending strategies and annual budgets, 6) publish open datasets on the penitentiary system, and 7) publish implementation information on the National Fund for Regional Development.

This commitment clearly identifies the topic and location of data to be published, and is relevant to access to information. Although the budgetary process is intensely reviewed and monitored by civil society and mass media, this commitment does not meet the OGP criteria for public accountability since it does not include a mechanism or intervention to translate that information into change.

Overall, this commitment’s potential impact is minor. Although the commitment aims to publish more budget information, its efforts to tackle the current complexity of budget documents are limited in scale. A more transformative commitment would aim to apply a citizen-friendly approach to all budget documents, by establishing an easily accessible location for budget data and expenditure reporting and for publishing data in open format.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that this commitment tackles one aspect of open budget. A truly ambitious commitment would also include greater opportunities for public engagement throughout the budget cycle by the executive, the legislature, and the supreme audit institution. 'The types of tripartite committee meetings which are currently organized don’t represent genuine participation', says an Expert-Grup representative interviewed by IRM staff.

Completion

Overall, the commitment’s completion level is limited. Transactional data on the execution of national public budget components are published monthly on data.gov.md (2.1). In 2017, 12 monthly reports on the execution of the national public budget were published. The reports include data on the central consolidated budget, state budget, social state securities budget, mandatory health insurance funds and local budgets. A new interactive framework for tax and customs policy development was developed in 2017 and launched mid-2017 on the MoF website (2.2). Users can now monitor each stage of the bill (proposal, submission to government, revision, approval), and access the relevant documentation for each stage.

The annual budgetary laws (the medium-term budgetary framework and the long-term budgetary framework) are published annually on the MoF website (2.3). The Citizens’ Budget is published once the budget is approved, or even before and is developed in the context of the EU-Moldova Association Agreement (2.4).

The IRM researcher identified several documents of sectoral spending strategies and annual budgets on the websites of ministries (2.5). However, the documents were not easily identifiable on the website. Since the action plan does not specify the public central agencies this commitment activity covers, the IRM researcher cannot assess completion any higher than substantial.

The publication of open datasets on penitentiary system budgets has not been started (2.6). When the IRM researcher asked why, the Department of Penitentiary Institutions (DPI) stated that they do not have a data.gov.md account. Toward the end of 2017, the DPI requested that the Ministry of Justice (the institution it is subordinated to) provide temporary support.

The IRM researcher was unable to verify whether the Ministry of Regional Development and Construction published information on the National Fund for Regional Development on data.gov.md (2.7). Desktop research did not locate relevant data on the portal, and the IRM researcher was unable to identify the government PoC due to recent government reorganization. Additionally, the vague reference to a timeline in the action plan makes completion difficult to track. For these reasons, the IRM researcher argues that this commitment activity has not been started.

Early Results (if any)

After the first year of implementation, data users and CSOs have expressed discontent with the lack of data in open format, data inaccessibility, and the lack of opportunities for public participation in the budget process. Additionally, the government fails to provide easy-to-understand budget documents for citizens, reducing their incentive to participate in the process. Users of budget data, interviewed by the IRM researcher, confirmed that budget-related information had been sufficiently available in recent years. They also stated that budget data became more aggregated in 2017 and that data publication is sometimes delayed, usually due to political and budget instability, and the lack of good public management in the past two to three years.

Next Steps

Moving forward, the government should expand the scope of this commitment to include activities other than opening data and developing e-government components.

For the next action plan, the IRM researcher recommends the following:

· Continue to develop the MoF interactive framework and add more advanced functions.

· Improve the access to budget information by providing more disaggregated data across budget components and sectors; setting open budget standards to be followed unanimously by all governmental/public central authorities.

· Improve data readability by publishing data in open format and publishing citizen-friendly formats of budget related data across central public authorities.

· Strengthen citizen participation in the budget process, by organizing genuine consultations, information sessions and open communication on budgetary aspects at the national and local budget development level.


Moldova's Commitments

  1. access to information and open data

    MD0069, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. budget transparency and public procurement

    MD0070, 2018, E-Government

  3. civil society collaboration

    MD0071, 2018, E-Government

  4. diaspora participation

    MD0072, 2018, E-Government

  5. accountability mechanism

    MD0073, 2018, Audits and Controls

  6. public service delivery

    MD0074, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Increase public procurement transparency

    MD0061, 2016, E-Government

  8. Increase knowledge of public procurement process

    MD0062, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Ensure budgetary transparency

    MD0063, 2016, E-Government

  10. Open data in education sector

    MD0064, 2016, E-Government

  11. Publish government-held open data

    MD0065, 2016, E-Government

  12. Participative policy-making process

    MD0066, 2016, E-Government

  13. Public sector evaluation

    MD0067, 2016, Public Participation

  14. Ensure quality of service delivery

    MD0068, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Improving the government open data portal

    MD0048, 2014, E-Government

  16. Setting up an action plan for open data

    MD0049, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Setting up guidelines for publishing open data.

    MD0050, 2014, Open Data

  18. Raising awareness among civil servants.

    MD0051, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  19. Civil Servant Training

    MD0052, 2014, Capacity Building

  20. Government email system

    MD0053, 2014, E-Government

  21. Auditing public websites

    MD0054, 2014, Audits and Controls

  22. Evaluating e-petition requirements.

    MD0055, 2014, E-Government

  23. Fostering transparency at the local level.

    MD0056, 2014, E-Government

  24. Improving communication at the local level.

    MD0057, 2014, E-Government

  25. Adopting new public consultations principles.

    MD0058, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  26. Training civil servants for improved communication

    MD0059, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Improving online participation platform

    MD0060, 2014, E-Government

  28. Strengthening the enforcement of the regulation on transparency

    MD0001, 2012, E-Government

  29. Semestrial progress reports on transparency in decision making

    MD0002, 2012, E-Government

  30. Update the module "decision making transparency" on the websites of the central public authorities

    MD0003, 2012, E-Government

  31. Publish environmental open data on central public authorities websites

    MD0004, 2012, Environment and Climate

  32. Develop methodological guide

    MD0005, 2012, Environment and Climate

  33. Amendment Regulation

    MD0006, 2012, E-Government

  34. Mandatory use of government e-mail account electronic (gov.md)

    MD0007, 2012, E-Government

  35. Annual report on public sector information

    MD0008, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  36. Post information on draft policies and legislations on www.particip.gov.md

    MD0009, 2012, E-Government

  37. Development of an Online Petition Portal

    MD0010, 2012,

  38. Starred commitment Draft the Law on public sector information reuse

    MD0011, 2012, Right to Information

  39. Develop institutional regulations for collecting, archiving and publication of data in digital format in line with national standards

    MD0012, 2012,

  40. Developing the Public Procurement Application

    MD0013, 2012,

  41. Starred commitment Drafting the Government Decision on implementation of Law on public sector information reuse

    MD0014, 2012,

  42. Opening Priority Data

    MD0015, 2012,

  43. Publishing the Open Government Data Catalogue

    MD0016, 2012,

  44. Expanding government data portal (www.date.gov.md)

    MD0017, 2012, E-Government

  45. Mapping the location of public institutions

    MD0018, 2012, E-Government

  46. Develop applications to launch of the innovative applications development contest

    MD0019, 2012,

  47. Implementation of selected apps

    MD0020, 2012,

  48. Develop national standards for collecting, archiving and publication of data in digital format

    MD0021, 2012,

  49. Amend Law No. 1264- XV to make income and property declarations of senior officials, judges, prosecutors, and civil servants, public

    MD0022, 2012,

  50. Develop an online automated information system for public officials to file income statement

    MD0023, 2012,

  51. Develop guidelines for using social media in the public sector

    MD0024, 2012,

  52. Harmonize Public Relations and Communication Strategy with the guidelines on using social media

    MD0025, 2012, Capacity Building

  53. Government presence in social media

    MD0026, 2012, Capacity Building

  54. Social media in government training

    MD0027, 2012, Capacity Building

  55. Develop regulation

    MD0028, 2012,

  56. Publish documents

    MD0029, 2012, E-Government

  57. Publish projects, plans and budget proposals on websites of authorities

    MD0030, 2012,

  58. Starred commitment Publish real-time information on state budget execution

    MD0031, 2012,

  59. Update annual database on public spending (BOOST) and publish data for 2011

    MD0032, 2012,

  60. Publish online realtime income and expenditures of central public authorities

    MD0033, 2012,

  61. Opening up data and providing quarterly updates on external assistance

    MD0034, 2012,

  62. Create an internal integrated information system for collecting information on external assistance

    MD0035, 2012,

  63. Develop and launch an external web application to monitor flow of external assistance

    MD0036, 2012,

  64. Transparent Information on Public Procurement

    MD0037, 2012,

  65. Starred commitment Develop and launch the Electronic Information System

    MD0038, 2012,

  66. Establish a Procurement Agency Assistance Center

    MD0039, 2012,

  67. Train public offcials

    MD0040, 2012, Capacity Building

  68. Develop indicators and statistical methodology for transparency in e-procurement systems

    MD0041, 2012,

  69. Starred commitment Amend electronic procurement law

    MD0042, 2012,

  70. Draft and approve list of public services

    MD0043, 2012,

  71. Develop and implement quality standards

    MD0044, 2012,

  72. Digitize public service gradually

    MD0045, 2012,

  73. Starred commitment Human Resources Management System

    MD0046, 2012,

  74. Innovative IT Tools for Primary and Secondary Education System

    MD0047, 2012,