The Department of Finance and Budget has the overall responsibility for developing the fiscal and financial policy framework for Flanders. Therefore the department:
- provides key fiscal, taxation and financial policy advice and support to the Minister of Finance and Budget;
- prepares the budget including an update in Spring;
- reports on the fiscal plans and results to the public;
- secures the cash and debt management of the Flemish ministries and agencies;
- promotes the principles of modern controllership within the Public Service and accountability for the use of public funds in all Flemish public sector institutions.
The departement operates in a context of more and more decentralized governance. Federalism in Belgium is an evolving process towards growing decentralization of responsabilities and revenues. Since 1970 six institutional reforms have played an essential role in transferring competences to the regions and communities.
The 6thstate reform, based on a political agreement of 2011 and implemented from midst 2014 onwards, however not only implies a new transfer of competences but also an engagement of the regions and communities in the fiscal consolidation of the federal government’s budget. Moreover given the new ESA rules with respect to public private partnerships and financial captives Flanders has also enacted a policy shift in debt management. Direct debt substitutes for guaranteed debt given the benefits exceed the costs.