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The Ministry of Finance and the Government again violate the Law on the Budget System

Transparency Serbia informs the public that the deadlines from the Law on the Budget System have been broken again, which will further reduce the possibility that the most important law will be thoroughly considered before adoption. For the fourth time in a row, the Government of Serbia failed to submit to the Assembly a draft budget of the Republic of Serbia for the following year. According to the Law on Budget System, the Government of Serbia is obliged to submit the draft budget law to the National Assembly by the first of November. After that, the Assembly has a deadline by the 15th of December to adopt the budget. However, in practice, due to the breakdown of deadlines, instead of 45, MPs have at their disposal only a few days to consider more than a thousand pages of budget proposals and correct it with amendments. Citizens still do not have the ability to influence the budget, since public debates on this act are not organized. It is particularly worrying that there is no indication that any actions that precede the formulation of the budget proposal have been carried out. Namely, the Fiscal Strategy, which the Government was due to adopt by October 1, nor a draft of The Law on the budget that the Ministry should have prepared by October 15th at the latest, weren’t published on the website of The Ministry of Finance and the Government.

Transparency Serbia warns that precisely because of the violation of the budget calendar, Serbia takes a very poor position within the reputable international research Open Budget Index (OBI). Within the last ranking, Serbia had 47 out of the possible 100 points and took 47th place among 102 countries, and the announcement of the new results is expected in January 2018.