Budgeting and public expenditures

5th OECD-Asian Senior Budget Officials meeting, 10-11 January 2008, Bangkok, Thailand


The 5th annual meeting of OECD-Asian Senior Budget Officials, hosted by the Thai Bureau of the Budget, took place in Bangkok on 10-11 January 2008. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Ian Watt, Permanent Secretary, Department of Finance and Administration, Australia, and Mr. Vudhibhandhu Vichairatana, Director-General, Bureau of the Budget, Office of the Prime Minister, Thailand. The meeting opened with a keynote address by Mr. Kosit Panpiemras, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand.


Annotated agenda:


Thursday, 10 January


09:30-10:00: Keynote Address by Mr. Kosit Panpiemras, the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand

10:00-10:30  Introductory Remarks by the Co-Chairs:

• Mr. Ian Watt, Permanent Secretary, Department of Finance and Administration, Australia
• Mr. Vudhibhandhu Vichairatana, Director-General, Bureau of the Budget, Office of the Prime Minister, Thailand

11:00-13:00  Roundtable on Recent Budgeting Developments in Asia


This session is designed for participants to make informal presentations on recent budgeting and public expenditure developments in their countries. This allows participants to exchange information on the changes in budgetary systems and the financial management reforms which are taking place in many of the countries in the region and provides a useful opportunity for participants to keep up to date with developments in the region in an informal setting.

Participants at this year’s meeting are accordingly invited to speak briefly on recent developments which may be of interest to others. Given constraints on time within this round table discussion, participants may wish to provide short, written statements to supplement their presentations.

14:00-15:30  Developing Fiscal Space: Overcoming Rigidities in the Structure of Expenditures


Fiscal space is defined as room in a government´s budget that allows it to provide resources for a desired purpose without jeopardising the sustainability of its financial position or the stability of the economy. Fiscal space must exist or be created if extra resources are to be made available for worthwhile government spending.

This session will discuss the specific pressures that limit fiscal space at present, including rigidities in government expenditure programmes due to standing (entitlement) legislation and demographic changes. It will also outline the various approaches to reprioritising expenditure by curbing unproductive spending and at the same time protecting – and reinforcing – productive spending.

The session will be led by Mr. Allen SCHICK of the Brookings Institution, Washington DC, United States.

Developing fiscal space: overcoming rigidities in the structure of expenditure, PowerPoint presentation by Allen Schick, consultant.

15:45-17:15 PPPs and Outsourcing: Implications for Budgeting and Accountability


There is a growing trend in many countries for partnering with private and not-for-profit providers for the provision of public services. This includes PPPs (public-private partnerships) and outsourcing (contracting out).

This session will move beyond a discussion of the specific instruments themselves to focus on the implications of their use for budgeting and accountability. For example, how can the budget process best be organised so that potential PPP projects are scrutinised in the same rigourous manner as general expenditures. What arrangements can be made to ensure that accountability by private and not-for-profit providers is not diminished in the provision of outsourced public services?

The session will be led by Mr. Paul POSNER of the George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, United States.

Third party governance: transformations in Public Management, PowerPoint presentation by Paul L. Posner, consultant.

Friday, 11 January


09:00-10:30  Integrating Tax Expenditures into the Budget Process


Tax expenditures are losses to the budget from granting certain deductions, exemptions, or credits to specific categories of taxpayers. In some cases, tax expenditures may be an alternative to direct government spending on policy programmes.

Tax expenditures are an important form of government expenditure and are growing in importance in many countries. Furthermore, as more and more countries have moved or are considering moving towards fiscal rules that make use of expenditure ceilings, tax expenditures may create a way to avoid fiscal constraints in this environment.

This session is designed to discuss tax expenditure classification and reporting and how the review and control of tax expenditures can best be integrated into the (expenditure) budget process.

The session will be led by the OECD Secretariat.

Tax expenditures in OECD countries, PowerPoint presentation by Barry Anderson, OECD.

Tax expenditures in Korea, PowerPoint presentation by John M. Kim, Korea Institute of Public Finance, Korea.


11:00-12:30  Fiscal Relations with Lower Levels of Government


Lower levels of government – both the regional and local levels – are increasingly assuming a greater fiscal role. By definition, they are in a better position to know the specific needs of their respective areas and therefore should be able to deliver government services in a more effective and efficient manner.

The fiscal resources of lower levels of government are often provided in the form of general and/or specific-purpose grants from the national government.

This session will focus on the various forms of fiscal grants and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each. It will also discuss the necessary preconditions in terms of capacity of lower levels of government in assuming a greater fiscal role.

The session will be led by the OECD Secretariat.

Intergovernmental transfers and decentralised public spending, PowerPoint presentation by Claire Charbit, OECD.


14:00-15:00  Report by the OECD


This session is designed to update participants on current and future projects by the OECD in the field of budgeting and public expenditures. It is also an opportunity for participants to identify emerging priority areas for future work, the nature of their interest in the subject and their willingness to participate in particular studies.

15:00   Closing


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