Belarus Budgetary Practices Are In Line With Best Regional Performance

February 10, 2010

Minsk, February 10, 2010. A World Bank team headed by Mr. William Dorotinsky, Sector Manager, presented the Public Expenditures and Financial Accountability Assessment (PEFA) for Belarus. The report assesses the strengths and weaknesses of public financial management systems using internationally accepted standards and proposes strategic directions and priorities for improvement. The assessment was prepared in response to a request from and in a close collaboration with the Belarusian government.

The assessment is an indicator led instrument used for assessing public financial management performance and for tracking reform progress over time. It is based on 28 indicators clustered in 6 modules and based on evidence about the actual public sector financial management over the last 2-3 completed fiscal years.

Belarus scored above average in 5 out of 6 dimensions in comparison with 13 countries in the region, and also scored above average in these same dimensions in comparison with 17 upper middle income countries across the world. Belarus performs well in budget credibility, comprehensiveness and transparency, control in execution and predictability, accounting and reporting, and external scrutiny. However, scores were lower than average for policy-based budgeting, reflecting primarily that other countries in the region have started introducing medium-term expenditure frameworks earlier, and are further along in implementation.

According to Mr. Dorotinsky, PEFA Task Team Leader from the World Bank: “The PEFA report does identify the strengths of the current Belarusian public finance system, including the treasury system reforms introduced some years ago. Since the PEFA report was completed, the government has been making further reforms showing its clear intention to harmonize its public financial management systems with international standards. The assessment has contributed to a substantive dialogue on a proposed reform strategy”.

PEFA results suggest priority areas where further reform efforts could be concentrated; including policy based budgeting, budget transparency, inter-governmental fiscal relations and external scrutiny. In many of these areas reforms are already underway promising to move public financial management performance in the country to the next level.