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Date posted: August 16, 2018
By MIFTAH

MIFTAH recently released the citizensí budget in both English and Arabic for the Ministries of Social Development, Education and Higher Education and Health for 2018 as part of its strategic cooperation with these three ministries.

The citizensí budget is a document that summarizes government policies and approaches for the coming year along with the development programs and their beneficiaries for each ministry. It allows citizens access and information about how public money is distributed and the revenues stipulated to carry out the plan of each ministry. It also explains the areas of development and other important information for citizens in a simplified but reliable manner. The significance of the citizensí budget is that it is released by the most service-oriented ministries impacting citizens, categorized as the social sector.

Importance of the Citizensí Budget

In this context, MIFTAHís executive team confirmed that the citizensí budget is considered one of the most important tools that enable Palestinian citizens such as taxpayers and contributors to the public budget to have access to government expenditure balances and approaches. It cements the right of citizens to access information and promotes the standards of transparency, which are considered one of the most important pillars of good governance, thereby enabling citizens to hold decision-makers accountable for their declared policies and priorities. The citizensí budget also promotes dialogue between civil society and the government sector.

MIFTAH project coordinator Hassan Mahareeq said the preparation and publication of the citizensí budget for the three aforementioned ministries is part of MIFTAHís Oxfam-funded project ďFinance for DevelopmentĒ, which it implements in cooperation with AMAN and ARIJ. The aim of the project is to influence public policies in a way that reflects citizensí needs and priorities and promotes trust and strategic partnership between official and civil society institutions. Mahareeq added that, as part of its preparation of a citizensí budget guidebook, MIFTAH seeks to build a strategic relationship with the Ministry of Finance based on the institutionalization of the budgetís periodic publication.

Furthermore, Deputy Minister of Social Development, Daoud Al Deek commented on his ministryís budget, saying: ďThe publication of the citizensí budget is one of the most important tools of transparency by which the ministry discloses its budget, its means of spending and distribution of its funds to its various programs. It also allows the public access to social accountability. We believe it is the peopleís right to inquire about the budget and how it is spent.Ē

On his part, public budgets expert Muayyed Afana, who was commissioned by MIFTAH to train the three ministriesí teams, said the publication of the citizensí budgets was extremely important given that it represents a response to international transparency standards for the public budget and is also the implementation of government approaches in its 2017-2022 national policies agenda . Additionally, Afana said, ďthe publication of the citizensí budget on an annual basis indicates to the sustainability and institutionalization of this budget in the targeted ministries.Ē

Data and numbers

Data from the Ministry of Healthís citizensí budget shows that its 2018 budget was NIS1,787,731,915, or 10.8% of the overall expenditures of the 2018 public budget, distributed over operational and development expenditures. Meanwhile, the overall budget of the Ministry of Social Development for 2018 was NIS839,764,500, distributed over various ministry programs for social assistance, economic empowerment, integration, protection, administration and planning, in addition to salaries, wages, etc.

The data provided by the Ministry of Educationís citizensí budget shows its programs and percentage of the 2018 budget, whereby the ministryís budget was $2,041,890,000, or 22% of the overall public budget expenditures. It should be noted that the primary education program assumed the largest percentage of the ministryís budget, at 47.11%.


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