State-run programs are a vital link in targeted program budgeting

13 september 2016

“Applicable laws refer our regional state-run programs to the competence of Russian regions, which leads to a number of systemic issues,” said Analytical Center expert Anton Steshenko at a workshop on Making Development and Implementation of State-run Programs of Russian Regions More Efficient held at the Analytical Center.

During the event, experts discussed the mechanisms of interaction between regional and federal state-run programs and their integration into the budgeting process.

Mr. Steshenko believes that currently different documents set different priorities for regions. “In this situation, regional executive authorities charged with the planning of targeted programs find it hard to sort it all out and build a single clearly-defined methodology for strategic document drafting at the regional level,” the expert says. There is also another issue: additional requirements from federal executive authorities that lead to integrity breaches in the state-run program building methodology,” the expert points out. Steshenko believes that “many issues can be addressed through methodological solutions and advice without altering the legal and regulatory framework. Some issues, though, require material changes in legislation.”

Nikolay Begchin, Deputy Director at Public Budgeting Methodology and Financial Reporting Department of the Russian Ministry of Finance, detailed to us the challenges and outlooks of introducing program budgeting. The expert pointed out that resources and tools designed to achieve the policy goals are not fully addressed at the moment. “Such tools as regulation, control, supervision, and property management are ignored, while funds of consolidated budgets of regions, government-owned corporations and companies are reported just formally,” the expert said. In his opinion, solving these issues calls for stricter requirements to qualitative reporting of all policy tools in state-run programs and analytical coverage of all expenses incurred by government-owned corporations and major government-sponsored companies in reports. Administering state-run programs is also problematic due to inefficient inter-departmental relations and lengthy approval procedures, Mr. Begchin noted. The expert explained that state-run programs being poorly integrated into the budgeting process also puts a drag on the industry’s growth.

Mariya Yekaterinovskaya, Assistant at Department for State-Run Programs and Budgeting of the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, shared with us her view of the role that state-run programs play in the strategic planning system. “Building a single coherent system of indicators at all government levels – federal, regional and municipal – is central to ensuring efficient document drafting within the strategic planning system,” the expert says. Moreover, she believes that targeted program budgeting with state-run programs as the key link connecting policy goals should become the major instrument in pursuing the strategic direction.

Workshop participants also discussed the role and place of projects in building and implementing state-run programs and explored regional experience in drafting the methodology to assess their efficiency.