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Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)

MTEF - Concept to Practice, Preliminary Lessons from Africa (in french, CDMT experience en Afrique)

Medium Term Expenditure Frameworks – panacea or dangerous distraction?
(PDF 85KB)

Summary of MTEF PREM Week Debate

The following is a list of documents that provide an overview of the medium term expenditure framework (MTEF), country experience, and technical guidance. To obtain copies of any of these documents, please check the availability information found underneath each document abstract. For further information about the MTEF, please contact

  • 1998 Medium Term Expenditure Review: Education
  • Uganda: the Budget and Medium Term Expenditure Framework Set in a Wider Context
  • The Australian Experience with a Medium Term Expenditure Framework: Annex 7 of China PER, by Bert Hofman

    Abstract: When Australia embarked on its comprehensive reform program in the early 1980s a key consideration was the perceived inadequacies in the links between policies and programs and the resources allocated to their implementation. Fiscal crisis subsequently raised fundamental concerns about the affordability of current government policies. The response to this was to take the system of forward estimates which had played a peripheral role in decision making and place it at the center of both resource allocation decision making and resource use.

    Availability: Word Document (39 KB) 

  • Government of Ghana: Draft Medium Term Expenditure Framework, Technical Guide for Budget Preparation by MDAa, prepared by the Ministry of Finance

    Abstract: This Technical Guide has been prepared to guide the preparation of the annual budget of Government of Ghana on the basis of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) approach. As stated in the guide, the MTEF approach will be followed by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in the preparation of their Budgets for 1999 and beyond. This technical guide is intended to provide an authoritative reference of basic information and extra explanations of the MTEF process to complement the Operational Manual. It sets out the details of the steps to be followed by an MDA in the preparation of an MTEF Budget. It also explains the respective roles of Cabinet and Parliament in the process.

    Availability: Contact PREM Advisory at

  • Government of Ghana: Draft Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) User Manual, prepared by the Ministry of Finance

    Abstract: The MTEF Users' Manual is an abridged version of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework Technical Guide (MTG) to budget preparation under the MTEF approach. It is intended to be a user-friendly overview of the MTEF process by which the financial estimates of MDAs' programmed expenditure can be prepared. It does not contain details of the conceptual aspects of the MTEF process. Such details are available in the MTG.

    Availability: Contact PREM Advisory at

  • Ghana, Issues in MTEF, by Malcolm Holmes

    Abstract: This paper highlights the Government of Ghana's efforts to introduce the MTEF as part of its broader Public Financial Management Reform Program (PUFMARP). The paper focuses on the excellent progress Ghana has made since implementing the MTEF in 1996. The paper then describes the current challenges in Ghana, focusing particularly on the credibility of the indicative budgets for FY99 and FY00. The paper finally turns to outstanding issues and next steps that will be vital for the ultimate success of the MTEF.


  • DFID Seminar on Best Practice in Public Expenditure Management Case Study MTEF in Malawi and Ghana, by Seth Anipa, Felix Kaluma and Elizabeth Muggeridge

    Abstract: This paper has been commissioned for a DFID seminar on best practice in public expenditure management. It has been prepared by two African practitioners, Seth Anipa and Felix Kaluma, and edited by Elizabeth Muggeridge, who have been involved in the introduction of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework approach in Malawi and Ghana. The paper sets out the rationale for the MTEF in these two countries, how it differed from previous attempts at reform, progress in implementation and problems/risks to the continuation of the process. A comparison is made between the Malawi and Ghana experiences from which lessons are drawn for both Malawi and Ghana and for other countries introducing the MTEF approach.

    Availability: Word Document (289 KB)

  • Medium Term Expenditure Framework, The Malawi Experience

    Abstract: This paper provides an overview of Malawi's medium term expenditure framework. It provides background information, the approach taken, progress made, and next steps. As described in the paper, the key challenge will be to turn good intentions into a credible budget formulation process. While it will be important to broaden and deepen the MTEF process at the sector level, it is crucial that there is a well phased central process which will provide the framework for the sector work as well as benefiting from the outputs of the sector level work.

    Availability: Contact PREM Advisory at

  • Malawi's Experience of the MTEF Approach, by Elizabeth Muggeridge

Abstract: This consultant's report walks the reader through the background, preparation, implementation, and results of the medium term expenditure framework in Malawi. Although the information is highly country-specific, the report discusses ways to overcome problems that may occur in other developing countries and provides a good example of the kinds of issues to consider in reform as well as the type of evaluation that policy planners should consider.

Availability: Contact PREM Advisory at

  • Mozambique: Assistance with the Development of a Medium Term Expenditure Framework, by Elizabeth Muggeridge

Abstract: This consultant report provides a simple explanation of the MTEF process and rationale as well as a detailed proposal for its implementation in Mozambique. The first section, written in an accessible outline form with numerous diagrams, is immediately generalizable and contains information about current budgetary processes in typical developing countries. The background information and proposals in the second half are more country specific, but are useful as a guide to the issues involved in planning the introduction of a MTEF.

Availability: Word Document (306 KB)

  • Budget Reform: Making It Happen, presentation by Owen Barder

    Abstract: A Powerpoint presentation highlighting how the South African government successfully introduced the MTEF in 1998 after a failed attempt in 1994.

    Availability:   Powerpoint Presentation (287 KB)

  • Spend & Deliver: A Guide to the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework, Berhanu Mengiutu and Laura Walker.

    Abstract: There has been a quiet revolution in the way the South African government draws up the annual budget. The question is no longer simply what does the government do with taxpayers' money; it is how and why government does what it does?

    The medium-term expenditure framework provides a medium-term (usually three to five years) planning framework for spending, while retaining an annual budget. The longer planning horizon allows government to project the impact on future budgets of current policy choices.  Spend & Deliver examines this important development in budgeting, especially in the South African context.

    This three-part series explaining the new budget system, includes an easy guide to the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework and a free Review of the Budget for 1998/99-2001/2 newsheet.

  • Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Training Workshop Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF), Dar es Salaam, September 21-24, 1999.

    Abstract: The MTEF training workshop was held for the Ministry of Finance, Planning Commission and key sector ministries. The workshop was organized by the Ministry of Finance, the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) and facilitated by two consultants from Consulting Africa, Ltd.

    The objectives of the workshop were to:

    1. develop a clear vision of the MTEF;
    2. review existing planning and budget processes;
    3. develop and strengthen all aspects of the MTEF process;
    4. identify possible institutional constraints and solutions; and
    5. develop understanding of and skills in the MTEF process.

    Availability: Contact PREM Advisory at

  • Improving Public Expenditure Management -- Recent Ugandan Experience, by E. Tumusiime-Mutebile.

    Abstract: In the last five years there have been radical changes in the way Uganda manages public expenditures and develops its budgets. The critical first reform was the initial achievement - and subsequent continued delivery - of aggregate fiscal discipline. This achievement has been founded on both a well developed political consensus and a forward looking cashflow control process. As this stabilization process has been discussed on many previous occasions, this paper focuses on three more recent changes:

    • The Poverty Eradication Action Plan, which has become the foundation for strategic resource allocation in Uganda;
    • The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), which has enabled the plan to be prioritized and implemented and sector wide programs to be developed; and
    • The strengthening of Uganda's partnership with donors.

Availability: Contact PREM Advisory at

  • Assistance with the Preparation of a Three Year Budget Framework, by Mokoro Ltd.

Abstract: This report summarizes the procedural and substantive lessons learned during the preparation and implementation of Uganda’ s medium term expenditure framework. The various sections and more technical annexes to the report work with Ugandan data, but cover issues of interest in most developing country reform processes: sector expenditure analysis, wagebill and decentralization issues, and planning cycle documentation.

Availability: Contact PREM Advisory at

  • What is MTEF? By Serif Sayin

    Abstract: This paper provides a succinct overview of the medium term expenditure framework. It begins by focusing on the purpose of the MTEF, followed by suggestions for design, and finally explains how to measure a government's commitment and progress towards the MTEF.

    Availability: Word Document (80 KB)

  • Improving Budgetary Outcomes, the Role of the MTEF, by Malcolm Holmes 

    Abstract: This presentation broadly examines the issues of sequencing, sound public expenditure management, and the implementation of the MTEF.

    Powerpoint Presentation (140 KB)

  • Public Investment in the MTEF: PIP, Sectoral Strategies and SIPs, Financing and Aid Coordination, EDI workshop on Public Expenditure Programming in Africa, Feb. 26, 1997

    Abstract: This brief speech discusses the common problems that donor organizations face when planning public expenditure management reform in developing countries. It begins with a brief description of the classic model of managing public expenditures, discusses the shortcomings of this common model, and finishes with an outline of the ways donor aid can complicate budgetary policy in any country.

    Availability: Contact PREM Advisory at