Australia supports PHL efforts to improve quality and accountability of gov't spending

November 11, 2011 10:34 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 11 (PN) – The Governments of Australia and the Philippines have agreed a long-term partnership to improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency of public fund use in the Philippines.

“The Australian Government supports the Philippine Government’s efforts to modernise its public financial management system. A more effective and open budget process in the Philippines is essential to combat corruption and direct public spending to where the development needs are greatest. Initiatives such as the Zero-Based Budgeting and Open Government Partnership already signal the Administration’s unwavering commitment,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Rod Smith said.

Australia has committed Php1.3 billion to implement the Philippines-Australia Public Financial Management (PFM) Program from 2011-2016. “This new program will prioritize practical budgeting and expenditure management reforms. It will help those responsible for managing public funds to do their jobs efficiently, effectively and most importantly, in an accountable way so that Filipinos benefit from improved delivery of goods and services,” Ambassador Smith said.

Australia will partner with the Department of Budget and Management, the Department of Finance-Bureau of Treasury, and the Commission on Audit to advance the institutional reforms contained in the Philippine PFM Reform Roadmap: Towards Improved Accountability and Transparency.

“This comprehensive PFM reform agenda aims to clarify, simplify, improve and harmonize the financial management processes and information systems in the Philippines during the term of the Aquino Administration. This will help the Philippine Government ensure that each and every peso spent counts in empowering the poor and the marginalized,” Department of Budget and Management Secretary Florencio B. Abad said.

“The Aquino Administration is committed to promoting transparency, accountability and participatory governance in order to achieve inclusive growth and reduce poverty. The Philippines-Australia Public Financial Management Program will certainly support the Philippine Government in building long-term capability and achieving positive and lasting change,” Secretary Abad added.

The program will also support a range of activities that improve budget utilisation and accountability in select departments such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, and the Department of Public Works and Highways to enable better delivery of public services.

Australia and the Philippines have a strong relationship, underpinned by over 50 years of partnership in development cooperation. The aid partnership with the Philippines is one of Australia’s largest, with more than Php20 billion in official development assistance over the last five years. Australia’s current annual aid to the Philippines is estimated at Php5.5 billion – placing Australia amongst the top grant donors to the Philippines. (PNA) LAP/PR/utb

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