PARLIAMENT: Debate on ministries’ budgets

Processes ensure taxpayers get value for money

Government processes for budgeting and ensuring taxpayers get value for money are becoming more rigorous, said Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong.

He noted in Parliament yesterday that there is the block budget framework which sets a spending limit for ministries. Another facility - the budget utilisation framework - encourages ministries to budget as closely as possible to expenditure needs.

Large infrastructure projects have the gateway process, a multi-stage system that scrutinises the requirements, the scope and design of the projects at key milestones before funding approval is given.

The Finance Ministry also works with agencies to conduct value-for-money reviews to assess if programmes are attaining intended outcomes in a cost-effective manner. Mr Wong said: "Achieving value for money goes beyond cutting costs; it is also about creating greater value, while we carefully manage the costs."

The Government will consider how each large infrastructure project affects others and assess the potential synergies of multiple developments. For example, the Land Transport Authority's innovative 4-in-1 depot saved the Government $2 billion. Another example is the integration of PUB's Tuas Water Reclamation Plant with National Environment Agency's Integrated Waste Management Facility.

Mr Wong said the Government is placing greater emphasis on ensuring value for money over the lifecycle of the infrastructure projects.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 07, 2018, with the headline 'Processes ensure taxpayers get value for money'. Print Edition | Subscribe