The Moldova BOOST government expenditure database was constructed on the basis of treasury data provided to the World Bank by Fintehinform under the auspices of the Moldovan Ministry of Finance (MoF). The Moldova BOOST dataset presents initial, revised and executed amounts dissected in two levels of economic classification (articles and line items), two levels of functional classification, source of financing and administrative classifications broken down at central government (ministries, departments and individual spending units) and local level (districts, mayoralties and schools).
Initially built by the World Bank country team, the Moldova BOOST is now regularly maintained, updated, curated and disseminated by staff of the Ministry of Finance. Additionally, the regular availability and accessibility of BOOST data - combined with access to non-financial indicators - have provided a substantial thrust to the Ministry's analytical work, allowing exploration of linkages between spending and outputs/outcomes. As evidence of how improvements in the presentation of expenditure information can lead to changes, following publication of BOOST by the Prime Minister and Finance Minister in May 2011, analysis of expenditure and performance data contributed to the Ministry of Education’s decision to launch a comprehensive school reform program.
Open Data Initiative
On May 25, 2011, Moldova made headlines by becoming the first country to launch a detailed database of public expenses in soft copy directly accessible from both the Ministry of Finance and the E-government Center portals. This was a monumental step for Open Data advocates globally, as information that was previously available only to decision makers became accessible to the general public in a much more open and reusable format. Today, more than 200 databases - including BOOST - are currently available in Moldova's open data portal.
To promote a more effective use of budget data, the World Bank delivered a series of capacity building events around BOOST and Open Budgets in Moldova. The events, open to a variety of public policy actors, aimed to identify high value areas to design targeted interventions around a more effective use of budget data for improved budget processes and outcomes in Moldova. The sessions focused on PFM systems, budget data analysis, citizen engagement in public service delivery and budgeting processes, media training on uses of data and tech camps for apps developments. In particular, the BOOST training session was aimed at clarifying and underlining the role of different stakeholder around budget execution and analysis. Links to the event are available here.
A particularly exciting outcome of the Moldova workshop was the action program developed by Expert Grup, a renowned civil society group to further develop its capacity to carry out the role of intermediaries to filter budget information to lower level groups. Indeed, as data continues to open up in Moldova, the challenge remains on connecting and presenting data in a way that brings people into the policy-making process. Expert Grup, in collaboration with the World Bank, is addressing this challenge by collecting, refining and transforming data from transactional systems and unstructured datasets to structured information for direct use or for analysis and conversion into knowledge. Additional workshops are expected to take place to build on this initiative and bring more players (both from the government and outside it) into the process.
Database users should be aware of the potential limitations of the datasets. We urge users to consult the users’ manuals to learn more about these limitations and take them into account when analyzing their countries’ budgets.