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2014年7月28日 (月)

概算要求基準 特別枠を「抜け道」に使うな

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Special fund should not be used as loophole in budget allocations
概算要求基準 特別枠を「抜け道」に使うな

Budgetary requests from each government ministry for fiscal 2015 need to be strictly assessed. This is essential for setting funding priorities in the next fiscal budget as a means of achieving two seemingly mutually exclusive goals pursued by the government: realizing economic growth and restoring health to the national finances.
 経済成長と財政健全化を両立するメリハリのきいた予算とするため、要求段階から厳しく精査する必要があろう。

The government has set guidelines for budget allocation requests for fiscal 2015, which will provide an overall framework for the next budget. A major feature of the appropriation criteria is a special ¥4 trillion fund. The fund is designed to preferentially finance key policies and projects devised by the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, including those aimed at halting a population decrease and revitalizing communities outside major cities.
 政府が2015年度予算の大枠となる概算要求基準を決めた。人口減対策や地方活性化など、安倍政権の重要課題に予算を重点配分するため、4兆円の特別枠を設けるのが柱である。

The budget appropriation guidelines also include a planned 10 percent cut in so-called discretionary expenses, including spending for public works projects. Funding in this category stood at about ¥15 trillion under the fiscal 2014 budget. The reduction is intended to come up with money for the special fund in the next budget.
 特別枠の財源として、公共事業費などの「裁量的経費」を14年度予算の約15兆円から1割削減する方針も盛り込んだ。

It is reasonable for the government to adjust its policy on budgetary allocations so it can promote policies of higher priority.
 優先度の高い政策を推進するため、予算の配分を変えていく狙いは理解できる。

However, questions must be raised about the advisability of making each government office’s budget requests eligible for allocations from the special fund only if the allocations are aimed at funding projects related to the government’s basic economic and fiscal policies or considered essential for the pursuit of its growth strategy.
 ただ、特別枠に要求できる予算の範囲を、政府の「骨太の方針」や成長戦略で掲げた諸課題に関係する事業としたのは疑問だ。

This policy regarding the special fund could permit each ministry to demand appropriations for a wide range of projects, including diplomatic and national defense-related activities.
 これでは、外交や防衛なども含めた幅広い分野の事業が要求の対象となり得る。

The government is also expected to come under even greater pressure for expenditures related to the development of regional communities, as it prepares for unified local elections next spring.
 来春の統一地方選をにらみ、地域振興に関連した歳出圧力も一段と高まろう。

Fund leaves room for abuse

There is concern that the Cabinet Office and other government ministries may take advantage of the “loophole” created by the special fund to demand allocations for their projects. This could cause a flood of requests by each government office that only cite the pursuit of the growth strategy, for example.
 特別枠を「抜け道」にして、成長戦略などにかこつけた要求が各府省から殺到する懸念がある。

We believe the government’s Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy should have narrowed the scope of projects eligible for allocations from the special fund. In doing so, the council would have been playing its primary role of issuing directives regarding our nation’s fiscal management.
 財政運営の司令塔である経済財政諮問会議が本来の役割を果たし、対象を具体的に絞り込むべきだったのではないか。

At a meeting of the council, Abe emphasized that his administration would do all it could to make sure “priorities are set” in the next fiscal budget.
 安倍首相は諮問会議で、来年度予算について「メリハリのついた予算とするよう政府を挙げて取り組んでいく」と強調した。

We hope the prime minister, who chairs the council, will play a leadership role in preventing each ministry from being allowed to request allocations for nonessential and nonurgent projects.
 諮問会議の議長である首相は、「不要不急」の事業の要求が横行しないよう、各府省に指導力を発揮してもらいたい。

The focus of efforts by the government to screen budgetary requests will be whether it will be able to strictly curtail expenses for social security services, the largest item of spending under each fiscal budget.
 焦点は、最大の歳出項目である社会保障費の抑制を徹底できるかどうかである。

Next fiscal year will see a natural increase in expenditures of close to ¥1 trillion for social security services due to the graying of society and other factors. The latest guidelines for budgetary requests include a plan to strictly screen allocation requests related to social security.
 高齢化などによる社会保障予算の「自然増」は、来年度も1兆円近い。概算要求基準はこれを厳しく精査する方針を明記した。

Steady progress needs to be made in reforming the social security systems. Measures to cut budgetary spending to this end will include promoting the use of inexpensive generic drugs and considering an increase in the age of eligibility for pension payments.
 予算節約の努力を通じ、割安な後発医薬品の利用促進や、年金支給開始年齢の引き上げの検討など、社会保障制度改革を着実に進展させる必要がある。

The government has said it will try to achieve primary balance at both the national and local government levels by the end of fiscal 2020. Currently, the national and local governments are registering a combined fiscal deficit of ¥30 trillion now.
 政府は、現在30兆円と巨額の赤字である国と地方の基礎的財政収支を、20年度までに黒字化する目標を掲げている。

According to a government estimate, the national and local governments would be left with ¥11 trillion in fiscal deficits each year even if the consumption tax rate was raised to 10 percent, as planned, and 2 percent annual economic growth in real terms was realized.
 だが、政府試算によると消費税率を予定通り10%に引き上げ、実質2%の経済成長を見込んでも、11兆円の赤字が残るという。

The lack of a solid base in the nation’s finances means the government will be unable to adopt flexible economic policies. This will make it difficult to return the economy to the path of full revitalization. Given this, the next fiscal budget must serve as an initial step in efforts to pave the way for fiscal reconstruction.
 財政基盤が脆ぜい弱じゃくでは、機動的な経済政策を行えず、日本経済の本格再生も望めまい。来年度予算を財政再建に道筋をつける第一歩としなければならない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, July 27, 2014)

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