Egypt’s Ministry of Finance revealed that the government attaches great importance is attached to the “Participatory Budgeting” initiative, which is being implemented by its Transparency and Community Participation Unit.
This is due to the commensurate great importance it attaches to improving public services in various governorates, and meeting the needs of citizens.
In a statement on Thursday, the ministry said that the “participatory budgeting” initiative aims to listen and respond to the needs and desires of Egyptians. This would contribute to improving their standards of living by translating the citizen’s priorities at the local level into the financial allocations in the state budget, with implementation plans on the short and medium terms.
The Ministry of Finance added that the initiative is seeing a strong start towards enabling citizens to effectively contribute to preparing the state’s general budget at the local level. Meanwhile, it is also monitoring and analysing service problems, proposing solutions, and identifying development needs in a way that contributes to deepening community participation in the state’s financial policy.
A coordination meeting for the participatory budgeting was recently held in Alexandria Governorate, during which some priority local projects were identified that will be implemented in cooperation with civil society institutions.
This will bridge the gap between local unit budgets and the governorate’s growing needs by supporting the implementation of some investment plan projects. It will also see other projects put in place funded by the state treasury, to contribute to deepening community participation.
Sarah Eid, Head of the Ministry of Finance’s Transparency and Community Participation Unit, said that the “Participatory Budgeting” initiative relies on training effective human resources.
The move will ensure that they are able to follow up on the implementation of local projects, and to establish the foundations of community control.
It is anticipated that the initiative will gradually go nationwide, in cooperation with the Ministries of Planning and Economic Development, and Local Development, Egypt’s governors, and civil society institutions.
Eid said that the initiative aims to improve the efficiency of public spending by creating a link between citizens and governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.
The initiative has been set out as a gradual plan over a period of three years, to create financially aware citizens who can read, understand and analyse the budget and government programmes. This would ensure they can contribute to and follow up on the implementation of local projects and community monitoring.
She said that project proposals are evaluated through an evaluation committee to determine the extent of the project’s technical, financial and temporal suitability. This would take into account local needs, the extent of support among the local community for the implementation of projects, and their compliance with the specified financing ceiling.