概算要求 財政規律の緩みにメス入れよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun September 5, 2013
With debt over ¥1 quadrillion, govt must tighten fiscal discipline
概算要求 財政規律の緩みにメス入れよ(9月4日付・読売社説)

The government’s fiscal discipline is far too lax considering that the country’s outstanding debt exceeds ¥1 quadrillion.
 国の借金が1000兆円を超えているにもかかわらず、財政規律があまりに緩んでいないか。

The Finance Ministry must strictly assess the budget appropriation requests submitted by other ministries, including the Cabinet Office, and cull any spending deemed neither essential nor urgent.
 財務省は各府省からの要求を厳しく査定し、不要不急な歳出を削減すべきだ。

Total budget requests for fiscal 2014 are expected to reach a record ¥99.2 trillion, far larger than the initial budget of about ¥92.6 trillion for the current fiscal year.
 2014年度予算の概算要求の総額が、過去最大の約99・2兆円に達する見通しとなった。13年度当初予算の約92・6兆円を大きく上回る規模である。

The primary reason for the expected expansion in budget requests is the government’s failure to place ceilings on expenditures because it has been unable to come up with tax revenue projections, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has yet to decide whether the consumption tax rate should be raised next spring.
 要求が膨らんだ主因は、来春に消費増税に踏み切るかどうか、安倍首相が最終的に判断する前で、税収見通しが立たず、歳出上限額を事前に示せなかったためだ。

The government earlier set a policy of reducing by 10 percent the allocations for discretionary spending, such as for public works projects.
 政府は、公共事業など裁量的経費を10%削減する方針を示した。

However, the government established what it called a “priority framework for a new Japan.” This allowed the ministries to submit requests, separately from ordinary budget requests, for public works spending in such areas as growth strategy and disaster management. This has turned out to be a loophole.
しかし、成長戦略や防災対策の名目で公共事業などの要求を別に認める「優先課題推進枠」を設けたことが抜け穴になった。

Under the circumstances—and with the backing of the ruling parties—the ministries have increased their requests by a large margin.
 こうした状況の下、与党が後押しして、各府省が要求を大幅に積み上げたと言えよう。

Symbolic of this is that the ministries hurriedly put in requests totaling about ¥3.5 trillion, the framework’s upper limit.
 象徴的なのが、約3・5兆円の推進枠の上限いっぱいまで要求が殺到したことだ。

Yet it is doubtful whether these requests are in line with the framework, as many concern conventional public works such as road construction and farmland improvement.
道路建設や農地整備など旧来型の事業も多く、推進枠の目的に沿った事業だけが要求されているのか疑わしい。

Also, several ministries and agencies made separate requests that appear similar, such as the promotion of the use of so-called big data.
 ビッグデータの活用促進など複数の省庁がほぼ同じ狙いの事業を別々に要求している例もある。

Use funds wisely

It is problematic that public works spending requests, when added to requests under the priority framework, have increased significantly.
 その結果、推進枠と合算した各府省の公共事業費が大幅に増額されたのは問題だ。

Public works spending requested by the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry totals ¥5.2 trillion, up about 17 percent from the fiscal 2013 initial budget. The ministry included requests for the construction of roads and dams and for extending Shinkansen lines, under the overall theme of “promoting projects to enhance national land resilience.”
 国土交通省の公共事業は前年度当初予算比で約17%増の5・2兆円に上った。「国土強靱(きょうじん)化」を旗印に、道路やダム、整備新幹線の建設費などを積み上げた。

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry has increased its requests for public works projects by about 19 percent to ¥770 billion, due to an increase in spending on land improvement projects, which was reduced markedly under the previous government led by the Democratic Party of Japan.
 農林水産省の公共事業は、民主党政権で大幅に削られた土地改良事業の増額などで約19%増の7700億円ほどの要求となった。

Measures to deal with decrepit infrastructure and the rejuvenation of the farming sector are important. But the government should not allocate large sums of money for road construction or to subsidize the farming sector, both of which are not considered essential.
 インフラ(社会基盤)の老朽化対策や農業活性化策は重要だが、必要性が乏しい道路建設や農業支援策に多額の予算を計上する余裕はない。

The government must rack its brains to ensure effective use of a limited amount of funds and employ the principle of “selection and concentration” in implementing projects.
限られた財源の有効活用に知恵を絞り、事業の「選択と集中」を徹底すべきである。

If the ministries merely inflated their budgetary requests in anticipation of tax revenue increases following the economic recovery and the consumption tax hike, they are completely devoid of a sense of crisis regarding the deterioration of the nation’s fiscal situation.
 各府省が、景気回復に伴う税収増や消費増税を当て込み、要求を増やしたとすれば、財政悪化への危機感が乏し過ぎる。

Even if the consumption tax hike is implemented as planned, the expected increase in tax revenue is principally intended to finance ballooning social security programs, leaving no room for the government to throw money around.
 たとえ消費増税を実施したとしても、社会保障財源に充てるのが本来の目的で、予算の大盤振る舞いの財源にはならない。

If the government fails to compile a carefully thought out budget, the government’s efforts to achieve fiscal reconstruction will be more difficult.
メリハリの利いた予算を編成しなければ、財政再建への道のりは遠のく。

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry’s budget request is an estimated record ¥31 trillion, sending the social security budget spiraling upward. The government must waste no time in wielding the ax to slash some of the highest expenditures in this request.
 厚生労働省の要求が約31兆円と過去最大になるなど、社会保障予算も膨らんだ。最大の歳出項目に切り込む改革も待ったなしだ。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Sept. 4, 2013)
(2013年9月4日01時39分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2013-09-06 06:18 | 英字新聞

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