Enhancing Citizen Participatory and Budget Transparency through Improvement of Guidelines Documents

The state budget stands as one of the most pivotal policy instruments, outlining crucial financial measures such as revenue, borrowings, and operational expenditures. It plays a critical role in enhancing social justice and the quality of life of citizens by allocating to essential services such as healthcare, education, social welfare programs, infrastructure development, and so on. While the budget is a complex technical document, the citizen budget offers a simplified presentation tailored for public consumption. By enhancing citizens' understanding of public finance management, the document fosters citizen engagement, holds governments accountable, and increases transparency in budget execution.

In Viet Nam, the government initiated budget transparency efforts since 2017, disseminating two budget proposals with user-friendly data visualization and straightforward explanations of the disclosure process at both national and subnational levels.

To improve the quality of the citizen budgets and to include the expenditures in all of Vietnam’s 63 provinces, a series of consultation workshops are currently being conducted with representatives from Provincial People’s Committee and local socio-political organisations. These efforts are supported by the project “Strengthening Public Financial Management in Viet Nam”, co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), implemented by GIZ and the Ministry of Finance of Viet Nam.

The first consultation workshop was organized in Ha Giang Province which brought together stakeholders from Ha Giang’s Provincial Department of Finance, the Fatherfront’s Committee, Women’s Association, Veterans’ Association, Communist Youth Union, Dong Van District’s People’s Committee (Division of Finance & Planning), and representatives from the People’s Committee of Lung Cu, Sa Phin and Ta Lung communes.

Discussions were centred on assessing citizens' access to public budget data and their involvement in the budget formulation process, as well as addressing challenges in collecting and disseminating budgetary information. Key challenges identified included limited human resources, technical issues in data uploading, different reporting formats between local reports and those mandated by the central government, and language barriers among ethnic minorities. Additionally, there was a focus on examining the suitable format and method for local governments to communicate budgetary information to the citizens given the limited internet access in rural areas and the majority of ethnic minorities do not read and write Vietnamese.

The workshop also delved into strategies to enhance citizen engagement through discussing the disparity between disclosed information, primarily macroeconomic data, and citizen interests, such as policies funded by the public budget like healthcare and social welfare. Moving forward, the insights gained from these consultations will underpin the development of unified guidelines for the citizen budget at both central and provincial levels.

The latest "Citizens' Budget" 2024 edition has been presented to the public with information on the macroeconomic context, the revenues sources, the volume and areas of public expenditures, and details about the execution of local budgets.

To read the full version, visit https://www.mof.gov.vn/webcenter/portal/btcvn/pages_r/lvtc/ngan-sach-nha-nuoc/bao-cao-nsnn-danh-cho-cong-dan


Representative of Ha Giang Province presenting tokens of appreciation to GIZ representative