World Bank expert says gov’t needs more budget flexibility

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Ateneo School of Government

MOVING away from line-item budgeting allows government agencies to become more efficient, World Bank Lead Governance Specialist Lewis Hawke said.

“The general view is that agencies are more efficient in the use of their resources if they have flexibility to use them as effectively to achieve their objectives and line-item budgeting doesn’t allow that,” Mr. Hawke said in a forum on Thursday at the Ateneo School of Government.

He added: “Government programs (are) delivered as services or as a holistic activity rather than building up from line items and if you get the line item estimates wrong then you cannot change them, then you undermine the whole project.”

Mr. Hawke was speaking during the launch of a book, “Budget Reform in the Philippines: Making the Budget a Tool for National Transformation,” edited by Ronald U. Mendoza and David G. Timbermann. — Charmaine A. Tadalan