The Mongolian government tends to underspend its allocated budget. Previous research from the International Budget Partnership and the Open Society Forum found that Mongolia’s social sectors—education, health, and social welfare—showed even higher rates of underspending than the aggregate budget, which fell short of expenditure targets each year between 2018 and 2020.
These deviations can be one of factors that hinder Mongolia’s ability to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The health sector is of particular concern. Although the sector accounted for 7 percent, on average, of the government’s total spending between 2018 and 2020, the 2022 Sustainable Development Report shows that, despite moderate improvements, “major challenges remain” in Mongolia’s progress towards SDG 3, which measures “good health and wellbeing.”
This brief examines budget credibility in Mongolia’s health sector by analyzing budget deviation trends over a five-year period (2017-2021) in the Ministry of Health portfolio, including both the overall budget as well as expenses by category, program, and function. The study is based on reviews of annual budget execution reports, state audit reports, and SDG reports as well as interviews with staff from the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Finance.