Uniformity of the budget

Different administrative branches do not have uniform procedures for drafting the budget. The drafting procedures were not unified in 2015–2019, and non-uniformity has only increased in the budget for 2020. The Ministry of Finance should strengthen the budget proposal process to enable it to take action in the case of proposals that are contrary to the new drafting regulation. The ministries should make sure that they take the changes in the drafting regulation into account when drafting their budgets.

We audited the uniformity of budget procedures by means of the budget and supplementary budgets for 2019. We assessed the uniformity of the procedures primarily from the perspective of the requirements laid down in provisions and regulations.

Uniform budgeting clarifies the budget monitoring practices and thereby supports efficient management of central government finances and the achievement of productivity targets in financial administration. It makes it easier to decide on the budget and promotes compliance with the budget. Uniform budgeting also supports the implementation of Parliament’s budgetary power and the related right to obtain information.

The Ministry of Finance has issued a new budget drafting regulation, which entered into force on 1 May 2020. The new regulation includes clearly tighter requirements related to exceptional procedures. The changes made to the drafting regulation support the aim to unify and clarify the drafting of the budget. Derogations from the drafting regulation should be applied only after careful consideration and for a justified reason.

There are clearly defined criteria for the class structure of the budget, but they have not been complied with adequately. The class structure of the main titles is an essential part of the systematics in budget drafting. It links appropriations with the targets set for cost-effective operations.

Clear and uniform budgeting, particularly as regards the budget structure and item decisions, would make it easier to implement the budget and promote harmonization of administrative processes. It is possible, for example, to significantly increase the efficiency of different government aid processes, as the related budget procedures are highly diverse.