Amended budget draft law finalised this year

A draft of amendments to the budget framework law is expected to be finalised by year-end and as scheduled, the deputy director of the Financial Services Bureau (DSF), Iong Kong Leong, stated in a written reply to legislator Si Ka Lon’s enquiry about the progress of the amendment. Mr. Iong said that the government has started the procedure of amending the budget framework law, as Secretary for Economy and Finance Francis Tam Pak Yuen said last year at the Legislative Assembly. He said that the DSF is currently drafting the specific contents of the amendments to related regulations. The Bureau is also reviewing the economic categories for income and expenditure that have been used so far. In addition, the setting up of a new accounting computer system will also be followed up on, according to Mr. Iong. The deputy director stressed that such a draft would be finished within this year according to the current process. Meanwhile, Mr. Si questioned whether the government will establish an individual review mechanism on infrastructure to extend the government’s supervision of the invested projects, in order to deal with the over-budget problems that have blighted such projects as the Macau LRT. Mr. Iong responded that the Bureau would follow the principle of the new law when approving amended budgets. In addition, he said that the government will submit in advance the budgets of the different programmes as well as the total amount of the big projects in the framework for the Macau Special Region Administration Budget and Investment Plan (PIDDA) when it submits the 2015 fiscal budget. Amendments to the budget framework law were initiated in July 2012. They will primarily focus on how to better control the budgets for public works, monitoring if such budgets are realistic and accurate. K.L.