Riigikogu committee: State budget legislation should be clearer

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Reform Party MP and budget committee member Annely Akkermann Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Legislation governing the annual state budget should be more transparent, while decision-making competence should be improved within parliament, the Riigikogu's state budget control select committee said Thursday.

Following a sitting Thursday attended by Auditor General Janar Holm, and Chancellor of Justice Ülle Madise, committee member Annely Akkermann (Reform) said that while the 2020 budget introduced a results-based and activity-based budgeting methodology, only a very small part of this had been implemented.

Akkermann cited analysis from the justice chancellor in her argument that the general articulation in the State Budget Act is not sufficient.

Akkermann said that: "The State Budget Act should specify more precisely how this is done, what structures have been created and how much their costs are by type. Only then can the Riigikogu substantively discuss where from, where to and how much money will be moved."

The meeting follows discussions on the appropriateness of an activity-based approach to budgeting, and how transparent or otherwise this is.

Committee chair Urmas Reinsalu (Isamaa) said via a press release that the state budget has become opaque and that parliament has lost its decision-making power over specific spending options

The committee supports the justice chancellor's position, he added.

Both she and the auditor general have given recommendations, based on which the Ministry of Finance has started to develop a draft.

The justice chancellor has also sent a letter to the parliament on the right to decide on the budget, highlighting a number of issues raised, all of which were agreed to by the select committee, BNS reports.

All relevant committees and parliamentary party groups are being canvassed for their views on the issue by June 4, while, Urmas Reinsalu said, the committee plans to meet with the finance minister ahead of the 2022 state budget process, and will also ask the ministry for data on activity-based budgets as employed in different countries.

Deputy secretary general for fiscal policy at the Ministry of Finance Sven Kirsipuu also attended Thursday's meeting.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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