The Estonian government at its Thursday Cabinet sitting supported the initiation of a broad-based audit of the state budget in order to review all state revenues and expenses and analyze their necessity.
According to Prime Minister Jüri Ratas (Centre), it is important that the Estonian state function as efficiently as possible, and that the spending of every euro be well justified, spokespeople for the government said.
“The audit of the state budget must give us a complete picture of the activities and services of the state and demonstrate whether expenses made on them are justified,” Ratas said. “If we stop unnecessary and duplicating activities, we can redirect the money we save to areas lagging behind, where help is most needed.”
The goal of the state budget audit is to identify free resources in the state budget strategy, i.e. fiscal space, which would allow for the financing of the implementation of the government’s priority objectives by redirecting money, the Ministry of Finance said.
“The budget audit is part of the state reform,” Minister of Finance Martin Helme (EKRE) said in a press release, adding that the target is an efficient state that offers services reasonably and directs attention and resources to places that lack them.
“By restructuring, we want to achieve better results with the same means, or the same results with fewer means,” Helme continued. “In order to be successful in the future as well, the government must have the flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances, and to do so, it is necessary to critically assess whether spending that has become customary is justified anymore.”
Audit to be led by ministry committee
The audit of the state budget will be led by the Ministry of Finance and conducted in cooperation between the areas of governance of various ministries. The audit will be led by a leading committee, which will in turn be convened and led by the finance minister. The leading committee will be supported by working groups by way of conducting analysis and making recommendations.
The audit’s more specific timeframe and action plan for the years 2019-2023 will be discussed by the government this fall, during which time the areas on which the drawing up of proposals for improvement should be primarily focused will also be selected.
In the future, the state budget audit will become part of the process for drawing up the state’s budgetary strategy and the state budget.