05th November 2015
The Platform For Civil Society and Ministry Of Finance Holds Pre Budget Dialogue.
Leading up to the presentation of the 2016 National Budget, the platform for civil society has once again been given the opportunity to discuss areas of priority with officials from the Ministry of Finance. Members of the CEPS Board attended a meeting chaired by the Minister of Finance Mr. Jean Paul Adam, alongside the Principal Secretary for Finance Mr. Patrick Payet, as part of the pre budget consultative process.
Through the dialogue, CEPS board members who are also commissioners of key thematic areas within the platform were able to talk of the various issues currently affecting the different sectors within civil society. Taking into consideration that the biggest portion of the national budget goes to health and education ministries, CEPS representatives shared that there was a need for accountability for quality education and the improvement in the services and treatment offered in health care services. It was proposed that more funding be made available towards programmes in the both the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health respectively.
Talking of the environment, ideas brought forward were linked to the need to educate citizens especially now that that we are championing the Blue Economy.
CEPS representatives also lobbied for funding to be made available for programmes in the social sector. In the past civil society has been entrusted with funding in aid of social programmes, therefore the meeting proved to be an opportunity to propose that such a programme be reintroduced. This will assist organisations within civil society, who are working at grass root level to contribute towards alleviating social ills and those empowering citizens within communities.
The meeting was also an opportunity to raise concern over the areas where funding is currently lacking; areas where civil society can conduct programmes but will require assistance from the Government.
CEPS Board members invited the Ministry of Finance to assist in building the capacity of civil society in monitoring sectorial expenses as part of Social Audits. This in itself will empower civil society to not only promote good governance but have the skills to enable it to act as a watch dog.
In that line, the CEPS treasurer spoke of budget allocation for CEPS, especially allocation for planned 2016 programmes which aims to not only build members capacity but also strengthen the sector through the platform.
In his intervention, the Minister for Finance spoke of how the Programme Performance Based Budgeting (PPBB) currently being piloted, aims to target key areas that needs to be focused. He said that this programme aims at getting governmental departments to prioritise and will allow for strategies to be put in place within the various sectors.
On behalf of the CEPS delegation, CEPS Vice Chairperson Mr Jude Fred expressed satisfaction following the discussions and said that this was truly a great opportunity for the platform and that CEPS will engage its members in becoming part of this discussion.
Following the meeting, it was agreed by both parties that this be a permanent ongoing dialogue between the Ministry of Finance and civil society through CEPS.