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July 13, 2011

The First 2011 Issue of the International Journal of Governmental Financial Management Is Now Available for Free Download

Posted by Andy Wynne, Editor

In the first paper of this issue, David Hall makes the case for public spending. He notes the long-term steady rise in public spending in all countries and demonstrates a powerful link between public spending and economic and social development. Public spending, he argues is essential for financing infrastructure, including roads, electricity, and water. It provides the health and education services necessary for modern economies more efficiently and effectively than the market ever can. By redistributing money to those on low incomes, public spending redresses the inequality of income created by the market. Three-quarters of the global effort to counter climate change will come from public finance. As a result, David Hall argues, globally, public spending is virtually certain to continue rising, as the role of the state continues to grow in developing countries.

In the second paper, Harika Masud reviews the findings from the Open Budget Survey, 2010. This is the third biennial international survey undertaken by the Open Budget Partnership. The survey confirms that the overall state of budget transparency around the world is poor. However, it also finds that budget transparency is on a positive trajectory. To support this development, the Open Budget Partnership is developing global norms on budget transparency and participation to establish the following three guarantees:

  • public access to information on budget processes, policies, and results;
  • opportunities to participate meaningfully in the budget process; and
  • domestic and international implementation mechanisms.

The third paper is a major development for the Journal. It consists of a paper in French on decentralisation in Francophone developing countries written by Mohamed Moindze. Mohamed argues that decentralization is needed in developing countries, as in developed countries, as a new model for improving public governance. However, its implementation raises a number of difficulties. Mohamed offers some basic principles to be observed in the phases of development and implementation of a decentralization policy which should overcome these difficulties. He concludes that their application should not be identical in all countries since they must be adapted to the specific political and institutional context, which varies from one country to another.

The next two papers are relatively short contributions on the public audit practices in Iraq and Nepal. Talal A Al-Kassar discusses the audit of government revenues in Iraq by the Supreme Auditing Board. The relative importance of the various sources of government revenue are considered and outlined. Talal then provides a summary of the approach to the audit of these government revenues. Janak Raj Gautam considers the experience of joint audits between public sector audit offices or with private audit firms in Nepal. Janak considers the different approaches and advantages of joint audits. Janak then reviews the experience of undertaking joint audits of development projects in Nepal by the Office of the Auditor General of Nepal and private audit firms.

In the next paper, Andy Wynne outlines the relative independence of two audit institutions found in almost all Francophone African countries, the Court of Accounts and the General State Inspectorate. Based on the experience of the eight largest Francophone African countries, Andy finds that the relative independence of these two types of audit entity are not significantly different. As a result, he concludes that greater co-operation is required to improve the total audit service received by the governments they serve.

In the seventh paper of this issue, Rasheed A. Tiamiyu argues that effective and efficient financial management of any organization, including educational institutions, requires the presence of a finance officer on the board or Governing Council. Rasheed A. Tiamiyu notes that the finance officer should provide the board with efficient financial information and help to prevent malicious obedience of decisions. Thus, Rasheed argues, the absence of a Finance

Officer from the board of some educational institutions is a significant handicap in their quest to optimize the financial management of the institution.

In the final paper, Andy Wynne argues that the revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East are a revolt against New Public Management as well as being for greater democracy. Andy argues that these events could mark a turning point in the dominant view of public financial management reform. He argues that the revolts were triggered by increasing inequality as much as the lack of democracy. Inequality was accentuated by the Neoliberal reforms of privatisation, deregulation and other market based reforms in the affected countries. This included New Public Management and the standard reforms in public financial management. Andy concludes by considering an alternative programme of public financial management reforms which these revolutions could herald.

As usual, this issue concludes with a section reviewing recent public financial management publications and other resources which we hope will be of interest to readers of the Journal.

We look forward to receiving feedback on this issue and we have already received a few contributions for the next issue.

The International Journal of Governmental Financial Management is available for free download.

Note: The posts on the IMF PFM Blog should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy.

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