Interview with Shaukat Tarin

Publication Year : 2021

Q1: M/O Finance started a zero-based budgeting framework; has that exercise yielded any improvement? What about the other frame works for expenditure management such at MTDF and MTBF.
You see I don’t think that finance division ever started zero budgeting. We do keep improving budgetary exercise. For instance, we have done performance budgeting and that exercise continues. It’s very useful and it allows people to defend their allocation space from the ouputs that they are making and creating. Look, it has been very difficult to convince people. Initially we had to deploy a great deal of our own man power and consultants to go and work with the departments but we have seen that over the years this has been institutionalized. One can still argue whether this is a very complete and comprehensive document but a framework has been agreed and the framework allows people to measure some productivity of expenditures that government agencies are making. And that work continues. We have done this medium term budgeting and this is something that over the last one and a half decades, fifteen years long period that MTBF is a reality. It is taken seriously. It does form part of budgetary documents and budgetary exercise. And another interesting thing that we have done and again this has been institutionalized and it remains operative. It goes to institutional approvals and that is budget strategy paper. So we have done it, we made it, we took it to the cabinet, cabinet had serious discussion on it and subsequently we are making it public. It’s on our website and we are defending it before our standing committees of finance. So we are working.