Budget to be allocated based on APA targets

Agencies without having the APA and Annual Performance Target (APT) will not get the budget

For the next Financial Year (FY) 2021-2022, the budget will be released based on the Annual Performance Agreement (APA) and its target to the agencies.

The agencies will have to submit the APA targets along with the budget proposal.

The targets will be reviewed by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Gross National Happiness Commission (GNHC) and the finance ministry.

However, in the previous year the budgets were proposed without precise targets and released easily.

During the media interaction session on Wednesday, Prime Minister Dasho Dr Lotay Tshering said that the agencies have to set the targets to get the budget and prioritize the activities.

Lyonchhen mentioned that set targets should have maximum impact on service delivery and should not be easy targets.

Lyonchhen cited an example that for the health ministry, the target should not be about screening people with stomach cancer, instead they should target how many people they can detect with early gastritis to avoid stomach cancer in the future.  “Screening can be done easily.”

Lyonchhen added that the agencies should not blame the COVID-19 or else for not fulfilling the targets later because they know while preparing the targets

The Director of Cabinet Secretariat, Chencho said that the APA and government performance management system were blamed before for setting soft and easy targets.

He said this has hampered differentiating agencies that are performing and those not performing so well.

He added that since there are intangible targets, it was also very difficult to review achievements in the past.

The Director said that all government offices have been asked to submit their APA targets and budget proposals for the FY2021-22 to the PMO, GNHC and the finance ministry.

The three national coordinating bodies will review and screen out targets of less priority and then approve the budget.

The APA is a basis for evaluating overall performance at the end of the year. 

Senior program officer of the government performance management division under the cabinet secretariat, Namgay Wangchuk said if the agencies get above 95% rating, 3% of the agencies are being promoted.

The chief budget officer of the department of national budget under the finance ministry, Phuntsho Wangdi said that for the next FY 2021-22 the capital budget proposed in the order of priority are one that contributes to employment generation, export promotion, import substitution, and promoting ICT and innovation.

He said that agencies will get budget based on the APA. Agencies without having the APA and Annual Performance Target (APT) will not get the budget.

He said they had not formalized on this before and that the budget was released with proposal from the agencies in the past fiscal year.

However, due to the pandemic for the FY 2020-2021, there was inability to formalize and sign the APA.

For the FY 2021-22, the practice of providing capital budget ceilings has been discontinued. Such reform is aimed towards ensuring that budgetary bodies receive adequate capital budget allocation for the priority activities supporting a resilient economic recovery. Therefore, it is imperative for budgetary bodies to consider their implementing capacities and other factors while proposing capital budget.

The chief budget officer said when there is no ceiling, it doesn’t mean that agencies can ask for more amount of budget.

Lyonchhen said that without having ceiling for capital budget, some agencies may get more budget than before and some may get less.

The APA was implemented six years ago by the previous government to ensure check and balance and strengthen good governance in the Bhutanese government structure.

Dechen Dolkar from Thimphu