Public Vote Health as Top Priority at “Skockajte Budzet” Event

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The Serbian Health Ministry was once again allocated the largest share from state coffers – 10.54 per cent – during a street event where citizens voted to show their priorities for public expenditure.

The event, which brough together more than 100 people in front of the building of the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce on July 16th, was the fourth street event organised by BIRN Serbia and its partner organisation Pro Concept as part of the “Skockajte Budzet” campaign which is aimed at bringing the general public into the  process of planning the state budget.
<!** Image 4 align=”right” alt=”Image 13398″ sub=”Citizens had decided” >
The peope had the chance to allocate the 2010 state budget of 656 billion dinars according to their priorities by placing ‘money’ in ballot boxes representing the 25 government ministries.

Following on from the Health Ministry, were the the Ministry for Science and Technology – om 9.45 per cent – and the Education Ministry – 9.35 per cent. At the oth3er end of the scale were the Minister without Portfolio, the Ministry for the Diaspora and the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government.

A similar street event  on May 15th, held in front of the Terazije fountain in Belgrade also allocated  the largest share of budget funds to the country’s Health Ministry.

At the July 16th event, Milan Jankovic, President of the Belgrade Chamber of Commerce, pledged support for serious and long-term budget planning. He noted that planning should be transparent and that raising awareness among the public that money in the state budget is ‘common money’ could only help the cause.

The “Skockajte budzet” campaign is part of the larger project “Eye on Public Finances” which was launched in late 2009 by BIRN Serbia and Pro Concept. The aim of the programme is to broaden the understanding of and discussion on budget issues among MPs, National Assembly staff, media representatives and CSO’s, and to increase the public demand for transparency and accountability.