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The glossary in this Portal provides definitions of core terms closely related to the medium-term expenditure framework; and links to other online glossaries.

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Sanctions is the plural of sanction. Depending on context, a sanction can be either a punishment or a permission. Sanctions involving countries: • International sanctions, punitive measures adopted by a country or group of countries against another nation for political reasons -Diplomatic sanctions, the reduction or removal of diplomatic ties, such as embassies. - Economic sanctions, typically a ban on trade, possibly limited to certain sectors such as armaments, or with certain exceptions (such as food and medicine). - Military sanctions, military intervention.• Trade sanctions, economic sanctions applied for non-political reasons, typically as part of a trade dispute, or for purely economic reasons, and typically involving tariffs or similar measures, rather than bans. Other meanings: • In a legal context, sanctions are penalties imposed by the courts. • In a sociology context, sanction may refer to social control.

Sinking fund

Payments made by the borrower on a regular basis to a special account to set aside the necessary funds for the redemption of its long-term debt.

Social insurance schemes and social security schemes

Social insurance schemes are schemes in which social contributions are paid by employees or others, or by employers on behalf of their employees, in order to secure entitlement to social insurance benefits, in the current or subsequent periods, for the employees or other contributors, their dependants or survivors. Social security schemes Social security schemes are schemes imposed and controlled by government units for the purpose of providing social benefits to members of the community as a whole, or of particular sections of the community.

Social loafing

The tendency of individuals to expand less effort when working in groups than when working alone.

Social protection

Social protection refers to a set of benefits available (or not available) from the state, market, civil society and households, or through a combination of these agencies, to the individual/households to reduce multi-dimensional deprivation. This multi-dimensional deprivation could be affecting less active poor persons (e.g., the elderly, disabled) and active poor persons (e.g., unemployed). This broad framework makes this concept more acceptable in developing countries than the concept of social security. Social security is more applicable in the conditions, where large number of citizens depends on the formal economy for their livelihood. Through a defined contribution, this social security may be managed. But, in the context of wide spread informal economy, formal social security arrangements are almost absent for the vast majority of the working population. Besides, in developing countries, the state's capacity to reach the vast majority of the poor people may be limited because of its limited resources. In such a context, multiple agencies that could provide for social protection is important for policy consideration. The framework of social protection is thus capable of holding the state responsible to provide for the poorest sections by regulating non-state agencies.

Social safety net

The social safety net is a term used to describe a collection of services provided by the state (such as welfare, unemployment benefit, universal healthcare, homeless shelters, and perhaps various subsidized services such as transit), which prevent any individual from falling into poverty beyond a certain level.

Social scanning

The general surveillance of various elements in the task environment to detect evidence of impending changes that will affect the organization’s social responsibilities.

Social security funds

Social security funds are funds that provide social benefits to the community through a social insurance scheme which generally involves compulsory contributions by participants. In most countries, such funds are separately organised from the other government activities, have their own budget, and hold their assets and liabilities separately. Social security systems which do not hold their assets and liabilities separately are not called social security funds. In the GFS, the preferred treatment of social security funds is to classify them as a part of the level of government at which they operate. An alternative treatment is to group all social security funds into a separate subsector. Funded government/employee pension plans are not social security funds. They are financial corporations and are excluded from the general government sector.

Social services

Social (and collective) services provide final consumption for households and are distinctive for their non-market character in most OECD countries. Collective consumption decisions and public financing are common, as is production by governments, non-profit organisations and subsidised private organisations. Social services comprise the following International Standard Industrial Classification (ISIC) Rev. 3 sub-groups: · government proper (civil or military); · educational services; and · miscellaneous social services.

Social welfare provision

A social welfare provision refers to any government program which seeks to provide a minimum level of income, service or other support for disadvantaged peoples such as the poor, elderly, disabled, students and minority groups. Social welfare payments and services are typically provided free of charge or at a nominal fee, and are funded by the state, or by compulsory enrollment of the poor themselves.

Social Wellbeing

Social wellbeing refers to a preferred set of social arrangements based on Dignity and self determination, participation and belonging, development of potential, fair distribution of wealth and resources, and tolerance and respect for cultural diversity.

Socialist economy

An economy in which the means of production are owned by the state and economic activity is coordinated by plan.

Spending unit

Any government entity that is responsible for its own budgetary operations. In many countries, these units are denominated in terms of several hierarchical levels (first level spending unit, second level spending unit, etc.) with the first level corresponding to a ministry or other organisation headed by a person of ministerial rank. In addition to ministries, such units may include subordinated and autonomous agencies, extra-budgetary funds, or administrative units within entities that (exceptionally) deal directly with the ministry of finance on budget matters.

Sub-national government

Sub-national government is governmental units that exist exercise a competence independently of the central government in a part of a country's territory encompassing a number of smaller localities. These include all governmental elements at the-regional level embraced by the generic term “government”, and may include, depending on the country, state or provincial government, district, country, etc., as well as local government. Sub-national government includes also decentralized agencies and social security funds operating at the regional level, and pension funds of regional government employees whose assets are invested entirely with the employer government.


The subsidiarity principle requires that decisions be taken at the lowest practicable level of government. It implies that central government should not take action unless doing so is more effective than action taken at regional or local government level. The term is commonly used in the European Union to define the areas where Member States have an independent right of action, i.e. where the acquis communautaire does not apply (e.g. the timetable for preparing the annual budget and submitting it to parliament is a matter of subsidiarity).


According to the Government Finance Statistics (GFS) and the System of National Accounts (SNA), the term “subsidy” is narrowly defined as current, unrequited transfers that the government makes to enterprises either on the basis of the levels of their production activities or on the basis of the quantities or values of the goods and services that they produce. More broadly, the term “subsidy is also often used to in the sense of payments or tax credits to individuals on the basis of their personal circumstances, according to criteria laid down in law or regulations (e.g. if they are unemployed or disabled). In education, subsidy is a grant paid by a government to an enterprise that benefits the public; such as "a subsidy for research in artificial intelligence".


Subvention is the provision of help, aid, or support. It is also an endowment or a subsidy, as that given by a government to an institution for research; a grant of financial aid.

Sunk costs

Costs that, once incurred, are not recoverable and should not enter into considerations of future courses of action.

Supplementary appropriation

Supplementary appropriation is a legislation passed during the budget year to provide for expenditures additional to the original budget.


Supranationalism is a method of decision-making in international organizations, wherein power is held by independent appointed officials or by representatives elected by the legislatures or people of the member states. Member-state governments still have power, but they must share this power with other actors. Because decisions are made by majority votes, it is possible for a member-state to be forced by the other member-states to implement a decision. However, unlike a federal state, member states fully retain their sovereignty and participate voluntarily, being subject to the supranational government only so far as they decide to remain members. An alternative method of decision-making in international organisations is intergovernmentalism. No international organizations operate on the basis of supranationalism in the strict sense; however the European Union and the South American Community of Nations, often called supranational unions, as they incorporate both intergovernmental and supranational elements. Some degree of supranationalism may exist in some International organizations. Supporters of a Federal World Government wish it to be extended. The United Nations holds a limited degree of supranational power insofar as governing important matters of global security through the binding decisions of the Security Council.