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June 2017

Digital money is spearheading the next wave of public financial management reforms in East Asia Pacific

Khuram Farooq's picture
 
A herder boy in rural Mongolia. Photo: Khasar Sandag / World Bank

Use of digital money increasingly dominates the public financial management (PFM) reform priorities of most governments in the East Asia Pacific region, according to key findings of Public Expenditure Management Network in Asia – Treasury Community of Practice workshop held in Bangkok in March. 

South Korea leads this trend, although China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, and Mongolia are at various stages of implementing and expanding the use of digital money to transform government payments, disbursements and receipt systems.

What can governments do to bridge the gap between producers and users of budget information

Paolo de Renzio's picture
Entering data. Photo: World Bank

In the fiscal transparency arena, people often hear two conflicting claims. First, governments complain that few people take advantage of fiscal information that they make publicly available. Many countries - including fragile and low-income countries such as Togo and Haiti – have been opening up their budgets to public scrutiny by making fiscal data available, often through web portals.
 
Increasing the supply of fiscal information, however, often does not translate to the adequate demand and usage required to bring some of the intended benefits of transparency such as increased citizen engagement, and accountability. Providing a comprehensive budget dataset to the public does not guarantee that citizens, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the media will start digging through the numbers.