The government in its effort to make growth inclusive has again arrived at a more balanced budget distribution between social and economic services in the 2013 national budget. Social services, especially the education sector, accounted for the significant increase in the outlay. But the country`s basic education budget still pales in comparison with those of its peers in the region. This year`s budget analysis also shows the limited fiscal space as highlighted by the low spending on national defense, a critical area given current geopolitical issues. Still, it presents a better picture of the country`s fiscal health in terms of deficit and debt.
Meanwhile, the accompanying special papers in this volume take a look at some of the government`s policies on health financing. The first paper points to the inefficient financing of health facilities nationwide and how various government processes hinder the upgrading of such facilities, thus stunting public health services. The second paper reviews the cheaper medicines program and outlines its strengths and weaknesses.