header-image

The Budget 2022 is not sufficiently gender responsive- conclusion of the working meeting of the GBWN and Macedonian MPs

On November 30, 2021, the Macedonian Sobranie together with the Gender Budget Watchdog Network organized a zoom event at which they discussed the gender perspective of the draft budget for 2022.

The GBWN notices that the draft Budget for 2022 in terms of budget expenditures by functional areas, compared to the previous 3 years shows a positive change in growth for allocation related to health, social protection, environmental protection and education. which are sectors where women are mostly affected. The practice of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and the Agency for Youth and Sports, which in their priorities determine that they will strive for the promotion of gender equality, was also highlighted and positively assessed; The Secretariat for Legislation, which pledges to strengthen the institutional capacity for gender-sensitive legislation and to assess the impact of laws on gender equality; and the Ministry of Interior, which are committed to advancing legislation in the development of gender equality and strategies for the prevention and protection of women from all forms of gender-based violence, including domestic violence.

However, Marija Risteska, Executive Director of the Center for Research and Policy Making, as a representative of GBWN, noted that the Draft Budget again misses a chance to offer a comprehensive assessment of the impact on gender equality, to clearly presents public finance allocations for gender equality and prevents citizens and civil society organizations from knowing and monitoring which gender goals the budget will achieve and with which indicators can be monitored.

Ljupco Prendzov, MP in this parliamentary composition called for careful monitoring of what is promised, but also to be careful in the eventual rebalance not to reallocate funds for the implementation of measures and projects aimed at achieving gender equality. He added that oversight debate must be held on how the money was spent once the Parliament receives the final account of the budget for 2021 and inspect how much of the planned funds for gender budget initiatives have been implemented.

The Deputy Chairwoman of the Committee on Finance and Budget, Marija Petrusevska, pointed to the fact that the funds on the Commission for Protection against Discrimination with this proposal have been reduced three times compared to last year and warned that the energy, economic and health crisis are likely to be felt mostly by vulnerable ones; she added that she does not see in the budget that this is reflected in the budget programs and allocations.

 

MP Gordana Siljanovska Davkova, chairwoman of the Committee on Equal Opportunities for Men and Women said that the way the budget and amendments are reviewed must be changed, and pointed out that there is still no system for monitoring budget expenditures and how much they contribute to achieving of gender equality.

MP Lolita Ristova, President of the Club of Women MPs, sees the main reason for the insufficient gender component in the delay of adoption of the new Draft Law on Budgets draft, which would regulate not only the way the budget is prepared, but also provide space for transparent and accountable spending as well as monitoring of the the trajectory of public money.

The next speaker was MP Snezana Kaleska Vanceva, who agreed on the need to change the way the budget is reviewed and that there is still room for improvement of gender-responsive budgeting.

A similar view was expressed by MP Maja Moracanin – the draft budget as a document must be simpler and more understandable, both for MPs and citizens, but clear indicators should be provided that will measure the success of the budget.

MP Zaklina Peshevska pointed out that all proposals for improving the procedure of adoption and implementation of the budget must be seriously considered, because as she said, our country has a long way to go before the full implementation of gender-responsive budgeting.

The members and sub-guarantees in framework of GBWN presented their proposals, as well as budget interventions to reduce menstrual poverty, increase the percentage of financial assistance provided by the state to women farmers, improve municipal services and support for gender prevention against based violence, the need for public toilets along the Macedonian highways, etc.

During the discussion, it was underlined that it is necessary to change the calendar for submission and discussion regarding the draft budget, but also consistent implementation of the Law on Equal Opportunities for Women and Men, where material discussions regarding gender equality are foreseen.

The participants in the meeting concluded and agreed that in the first quarter of next year it will be necessary to organize an oversight hearing regarding the Budget for 2021 and how much public money has been spent this yearin regards to the enhancement of the gender equality in the Macedonian society.