Afghanistan State Budget Planning System: A Tool that Grows Along with the Evolving Needs of the Sector it Serves

In 2008, the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan put into practice the State Budget Planning System (SBPS) developed by Synergy International Systems. Over the past years, SBPS has become an essential tool for the Government of Afghanistan to streamline its budget planning and execution.

SBPS is specifically designed to quickly and easily automate the entire cycle of budget definition and preparation processes, as well as enhance monitoring of the approved budget. Over the past years, it has streamlined Afghanistan’s budget formulation and execution processes from budget preparation to its review, execution and monitoring.

“SBPS has increased the transparency and accountability of our operations and has expedited all our budget formulation processes. The reports generated in the system are being used by the line ministries and top management of our government,” says Mr. Sharif Stanekzai from the General Directorate of the National Budget at the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan.

Mr. Stanekzai at Synergy’s Development and Global Learning Center in Armenia.

A web-based, user friendly tool, SBPS has evolved over the past years along with the progressing needs of the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan. Now undergoing its regular upgrading, SBPS’s rich features continues to enable the Ministry of Finance to collect, analyze, and report key data for its projects, create top-down and bottom-up budget planning and execution, and create multi-year budgets and forecasts.

“SBPS has grown in line with the development of our budget formulation processes. We are regularly update our system so that it evolves around business processes and answers all our needs that are evolving with time” says Mr. Stanekzai. “Initially, it was developed as a desktop system, then we transformed it into a web-based system so that it would be available on the internet. This, in its turn, increased the accountability and transparency of our operations, because an increased number of stakeholders had access to the system,” he adds.

SBPS is providing the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan a central platform for budget planning which remains essential to budget preparation and execution reforms of the country. Currently, is being employed not just by the Ministry of Finance, but other line ministries of the Government of Afghanistan for budget planning, monitoring, and reporting.

Moreover, SBPS is playing a significant role in shaping the image of Afghanistan as a country willing to do business in advanced ways. “I am happy to tell that the reports from our system are very much accountable, which has helped in coordinating projects with international donor agencies. Our auditors from international financial institutions are impressed by the functionality of SBPS,” states Mr. Stanekzai.

“The accuracy that the system has brought us has no comparison to any other system in Afghanistan. The data in this system is way more reliable than in any other system used in our country. All line ministries, even contractors, depend on the data generated by SBPS,” explains Mr. Stanekzai.

Over the past decade, the relationship between the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan and Synergy has evolved along SBPS to grow from being a client-technology provider relationship into becoming technology partners. “Our relationship with Synergy is such that I consider us both part of the same department. The responses are prompt, the fixes are prompt, and they know which way we are heading. They know the problems even before we find out about them and are there to fix them in time,” says Mr. Stanekzai.