It’s interesting to see how Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS) have become an essential tool for social accountability in Nepal.
At a workshop organized by the World Bank’s Program for Accountability in Nepal (PRAN) and the World Bank Institute, more than 50 social accountability practitioners gathered to share a practical, hands-on experience on PETS from 30th September until 3rd October in Kavre, Nepal.
PRAN’s Social Accountability practitioners have been implementing various social accountability tools in ten rural districts in Nepal. The main objective is to promote accountability by making the citizens aware and capable enough to demand accountability within the government and the service providers.
PETS is a social accountability tool by which citizens track the amount of government’s budget allocated to activities implemented by the local bodies (VDCs, DDCs and Municipalities). Through PETS, the community can learn how much of their budget is spent, or being spent, on specific activities, and what was actually achieved through the spent amount.
“In the current scenario with the absence of elected representatives throughout the country, we need a tool that would hold the administration accountable and PETs meets all the criteria,” said one of the participants, Mahendra Prasad Pandey, PRAN’s Social Accountability Practitioner in Kapilbastu.
The workshop brought together national, as well as international experts to share their experiences on implementing the PETS methodology. The participants were not just taught the specifics of PETS, but were given opportunities to field-test the survey questionnaires on old age, widow and disabled social security entitlements in the VDCs and municipalities of Kavre district.
“The field–based training gave us an excellent overview of what we could expect when we take these surveys out in the village. The workshop was highly effective as it gave us a better sense of the practical implications of asking detailed questions on who received these entitlements, from whom, for how much and when,” says Neelu Thapa, another participant from SAWTEE.
Through the use of PETS, people can find out whether the local government’s specific plans, programs and resources have reached their intended targets, whether the money was spent for the approved purpose and, if not, what ways can be identified to ensure that the budget is spent as per the approved purposes.
“Our partners felt the need for such PETS training as most village communities lack proper knowledge on budget transparency and accountability issues. We believe that citizens can more effectively hold their government accountable through such community-led, demand-driven tools as PETS. Through the Program for Accountability in Nepal-PRAN, we are able to provide practical training to develop the capacity of civil society in partnership with their government to promote social accountability in Nepal,” says Keith D. Leslie, PRAN’s Coordinator.
PRAN (Program for Accountability in Nepal) of the World Bank promotes the use of various social accountability tools allowing the citizens to hold the government and service providers accountable at the local level.