Pre-budget statement takes a step in the right direction: experts

PETALING JAYA: Issuing a pre-budget statement gives people insight into how government policies are formulated.

Statement by Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz(pictures) marks a significant break with tradition, former Treasury Secretary Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Kassim said.

“It’s a breath of fresh air,” he said. the sun.

Tengku Zafrul, who released the statement on Aug. 31 ahead of the tabling of the 2022 budget, said it would allow people to track specific metrics such as the economic outlook, tax revenue and government spending.

He said the statement also provided an overview of the direction, approach and expected benefits of the 2022 budget.

Mohd Sheriff noted that previously “everything would be under lock and key” until budget day. The 2022 budget will be tabled for debate next month.

“Breaking from the previous practice of complete silence until Budget Day, the Minister is following modern international practices of transparency and accountability on government spending and revenue plans, as well as Treasury thinking about strategies for Political budget.

“With the Minister’s pre-budget statement, the market now knows what to expect when it comes to taxation.”

He said people would now be able to discuss the government’s plans for next year ahead of budget day. “This would allow the Ministry of Finance to take into account people’s opinions when finalizing the budget proposal for the Dewan Rakyat.

“The minister’s overture should be emulated by other departments to show their willingness to break with the culture of the past, which under the Official Secrets Act reflected a
cloak and dagger attitude, as if the country was preparing for war.

“Let’s hope that the Finance Minister’s initiative to break with the old culture of budgetary secrecy marks the beginning of a new era of freedom of information in other areas of policy-making as well.”

Sunway University economics professor Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the pre-budget statement gives the public insight into the government’s thinking.

He said this will allow people to make more focused suggestions on what is needed.

“This feedback will allow the government to focus on key areas of concern. With these areas mentioned in the statement, it will help set the tone for the budget.

He said it would also help the government find ways to meet the needs of the people within its fiscal capacity. “The government has already reached its budget spending ceiling, but now it needs to find ways to help the needy.”

Yeah says any help the government can provide must be within its budget limits.

He said the focus should be on reviving the economy while helping distressed households and businesses.

“Any aid provided must be long-lasting but must not damage investor confidence. Every action taken by the government must focus on fiscal sustainability.

Dorothy H. Lewis