The conference was a joint effort between International IDEA, the European Union and the Joint Public Accounts Committee of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw. Photo: Giles Dickenson-Jones.
More than 100 parliamentarians, staff from Myanmar’s Union Parliament, and senior officials from ministries participated in a two-day conference in Nay Pyi Taw on 1-2 July 2017 to discuss practical means for enhancing Myanmar’s budget, planning and audit process through greater cooperation.
The European Union-funded My Governance project hosted the conference, in partnership with the Joint Public Accounts Committee (JPAC) of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw and International IDEA. This provided representatives from the parliament and executive an opportunity to share information and discuss avenues for greater collaboration. The Joint Public Accounts Committee is the key parliamentary committee responsible for reviewing and reporting to parliament on the annual budget proposal and audit report.
The conference is the result of International IDEA’s consultations with Members and staff of the Joint Public Accounts Committee of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw about the need for increased knowledge about both the budget process and the key individuals and institutions involved in preparing the budget that they must scrutinize.
This multi-stakeholder forum is a part of the broader initiative being led by the JPAC to improve budget transparency, accountability, and effectiveness in Myanmar. Representatives and senior ministers from the Union Parliament Joint Public Accounts Committee, Public Accounts Committees of the Pyithu Hluttaw and Amyotha Hluttaw, the Union Auditor General, Ministry of Planning and Finance, Union Parliament Office, Union Attorney General’s Office, and the Central Bank of Myanmar participated in the discussions. The delegates were joined by Liam Laurence Smyth, Clerk of Legislation UK House of Commons who provided an overview of the UK Public Accounts Committee, its relationship with the audit office, and how it encourages budget accountability and T.R. Raghunandan, former Joint Secretary for the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Government of India, who spoke about comparative approaches to budget oversight in the region and the lessons this provides for Myanmar.
Auditor General U Maw Than noted in his closing remarks how the conference will be critical to improving collaborative budget management in Myanmar, “The auditor general’s office provides oversight on the budget and its implementation together with the parliament and the ministry of planning and finance. These three organizations must collaborate to be effective and to increase our staffs’ capacity. We look forward to this conference and working together to achieve this objective.”
If you would like to learn more about this work in Myanmar, you can visit International IDEA Myanmar’s Facebook Page.
Contributors: Rick Nuccio, Team Leader, MyGovernance Project and Giles Dickenson-Jones, Senior Expert, MyGovernance Project