The International Monetary Fund’s Fiscal Affairs Department and Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center East (AFRITAC East) held a workshop on “Medium Term Budget Frameworks (MTBFs) for Sub-Saharan Africa” (SSA) in Nairobi during the period January 27 – 31, 2014.
Twenty-nine officials from finance and planning ministries representing AFRITAC East member countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania, including Zanzibar and Uganda) attended the seminar. Mr. Neil Cole, Executive Secretary of the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) also participated.
The workshop facilitators explored with participants how binding MTBFs can enhance fiscal discipline and improve funding predictability for line Ministries in order to facilitate the achievement of strategic objectives. The prerequisites, however, are to have credible annual budgets; strong institutional frameworks including a supporting legal environment; reliable macro-economic and fiscal projections; and a fully integrated planning and budgeting process. Topics of discussion included: an assessment of MTBFs in Sub-Saharan Africa; constructing multi-year expenditure ceilings; medium term fiscal framework; fiscal objectives and fiscal rules; reconciling planning with budgeting; budget documentation and budget framework papers; budget institutions and processes; constructing a sector/ministry-level budget projection. Participants shared the challenges they faced in developing MTBFs and the seminar provided an opportunity for peer learning.
The workshop was opened by Mr. Samuel Kiiru, from the National Treasury of Kenya. He spoke about the challenges Kenya faces in implementing reforms and underscored the necessity of commitment both at political and technical levels. Mrs. Phyllis Makau, Director of the Kenya Parliamentary Budget Office, discussed the opportunities presented by the new legal framework and the challenges of overlapping mandates among the budgetary institutions.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Mr. Justus Nyamunga, Director of the Economic Affairs Department of the National Treasury of Kenya underlined the necessity of binding forward estimates linked to program-based budget (PBB) to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of public expenditures.
Ms. Florence Kuteesa, and Tawfik Ramtoolah, both technical assistance advisors in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department and AFRITAC East, indicated that they would continue to engage with the participants in the design of the suggested complementary courses, notably in the following areas: construction of baseline for the MTBF, macro-fiscal framework, program based budgeting including monitoring and evaluation.