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A SPRING analysis of on- and off-budget allocations in Nepal and Uganda

  |   SUN in Practice

What is on-budget funding?

On-budget funding sources are defined as those occurring through the official government budget management system. In Nepal, there is an additional delineation between “on-budget, on-treasury” and “on-budget, off-treasury”, meaning that funds are reported through the national budget, but are distributed outside of the treasury system

Uganda and Nepal:

The USAID-funded SPRING Project is tracking both on-budget and off-budget allocations (and where data are available, expenditures) within its “Pathways to Better Nutrition” case studies. The scope of nutrition activities was defined by each country’s NNAP (National Nutrition Action Plan), and confirmed for the period of analysis with in-depth interviews.

Sources?

For both Nepal and Uganda, SPRING conducted data validation meetings with each sector planning and budgeting office following am initial analysis of the budget documents in order to confirm that:

-the correct budget line items had been included for the nutrition-related activities;

-the correct classification (“nutrition-specific” or “nutrition-sensitive”) had been assigned, and, if sensitive, their level of sensitivity;

-the correct percentage of the budget line was included (in the case of integrated activities); and

-the figures included in the government documents for allocation and expenditure were recorded correctly.

Lessons learned from on-budget allocations in Nepal and Uganda

  • Nutrition activities are most often integrated into larger, non-nutrition budget line items in Nepal and Uganda. Budget management systems in both countries could be adjusted to allow for more accurate tracking of on-budget nutrition funds. Lessons could be learned from efforts in the areas of climate change and gender funding.
  • Government nutrition staff could be better sensitized to the budgeting process and documents. In a selection of our validation interviews, government technical staff had some difficulty identifying the source of funding for their activities, and how much of those funds they actually received. This also affects their ability to articulate the need for funds.

What are Off-Budget sources?

Off-budget was defined as funds that are not reported or run through the official government budget management system

Uganda and Nepal:

In both Nepal and Uganda, these funds still need to be reported to the government, but often they are not reported after the initial registration of the project or activity with the Ministry of Finance. This means the government is not able to track yearly allocations or disbursements for off-budget funds as accurately as on-budget funds.

Knowing this limitation, SPRING used the official government documents for reporting off-budget funds. This is because one aspect of SPRING’s study involves examining the government financial management structures in place to manage nutrition funding.

  • In Uganda, this was the Ministry of Finance’s “Summary of project support managed outside government systems,” which captures only off-budget funding.
  • In Nepal, SPRING used the Government of Nepal’s Aid Management Portal, which includes all donor funding (on- as well as off-budget), necessitating careful comparison with the Redbook figures.

The lessons learned and initial findings from SPRING’s off-budget financial tracking may be summarized as follows:

  • Poor reporting by donors into the government off-budget tracking systems is an issue. In an ideal world, all donor funding would be run on-budget, on-treasury. However, for various reasons this is not the case. At minimum, Donors should adhere to the rules laid out by the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation , which include greater aid transparency and reporting into government budget systems.
  • In Uganda, donor financial tracking is not set up to provide a breakdown of funds by district or below. For decentralized countries where work planning and funding decisions are being made at the sub-national level, it would be beneficial to be able to also provide estimates of donor funding at the sub-national level.

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