by Jason Lakin, IBP Kenya— Apr 27, 2016
The term public participation has lost meaning in the context of budget making and a higher standard is needed if public participation is to deliver on its promises. Should public deliberation, a concept rooted in theories of deliberative democracy and moral philosophy, be the new standard? IBP Kenya’s Jason Lakin explains how public deliberation can help instill confidence in government decisions and engender an informed public.
by Dr. Yogesh Kumar, Samarthan— Apr 25, 2016
Samarthan, a civil society organization and IBP partner, works in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to address social development issues by strengthening grassroots civil society groups. One of the ways the group does so is through the People’s Budget Initiative (PBI), a large national network of CSOs that work together to influence budget policy. Those who are marginalized and poor need a louder voice and more representation in policy discourse, particularly how public resources are used. In March, 2016, the Madhya Pradesh government presented the budget for financial year 2016-17, which Samarthan and PBI have been working hard to influence, but translating what’s on paper into positive outcomes for the poor and marginalized requires constant vigilance and reassessment.
by Gaurav Godhwani and Rohith Jyothish, Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA)— Mar 30, 2016
In the world of government budgets it pays to move fast. React too slowly and the national conversation around budget priorities has already moved on. This is why the Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability (CBGA) publishes an analysis of India’s Union Budget within 24 hours of it being presented to parliament each year. This analysis helps to facilitate an informed budget discussion, particularly around sectors and issues relevant for the poor and vulnerable sections of the population. This year, alongside the traditional analysis, CBGA decided to launch an online Budget Analysis Tool.
By Carol Namagembe, the Civil Society Budget Advocacy Group (CSBAG)— Mar 24, 2016
The Government of Uganda has promised to incorporate proposals from Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) into the 2016/17 National Budget. This was revealed by the State Minister for Finance, Fred Omach, during a pre-budget dialogue with CSOs in Kampala on March 18, 2016. “We shall pick the highlights and the best you have,” Omach said after acknowledging the critical role CSOs play in influencing government policies.
By Albert van Zyl, International Budget Partnership— Mar 07, 2016
In contrast to campaigns that are more inherently confrontational, social audits invest heavily in unpacking and decoding government budget policy and processes. They often start by examining official documents to understand what service delivery commitments the government has made and what viable counter proposals might look like. This is not to say that social audits can’t form part of larger campaigns that use a variety of tactics to get the government to respond. But this engagement is firmly rooted in the facts and figures that the government itself releases in official documents.
By David Robins, International Budget Partnership— Mar 04, 2016
The budget is the single most powerful tool that a government can use to improve the lives of its citizens. It is where policy meets public resources — where decisions about raising and spending public money turn promises and commitments into real investments in programs and services. Not only do the people have the right to know how their government is spending their money, they can play an essential role in improving budget decisions, implementation, and accountability. In other words, if open and effective governance is your goal, countries must have open and accountable budgets.
by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— Feb 01, 2016
Without budget information it would be almost impossible for people outside government to spot and denounce cases of mismanagement and corruption. That’s why countries lacking transparency also tend to perform poorly on corruption indicators and, more generally, governance-related ones. As our research has shown, governments have a variety of motives for disclosing fiscal information that have little to do with the fight against corruption. And, for transparency to help tackle it, a number of additional factors need to be in place — from an active civil society, to an independent media, to effective oversight and accountability institutions.
By Joseph Foti, Program Manager, Open Government Partnership— Jan 29, 2016
Every two years, the Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) team releases progress reports that assess how well OGP countries are achieving their open government commitments. The reports are released a year into the national action plan cycle and developed by national researchers and international experts with inputs from civil society and government. Throughout February 2016, 36 countries will receive their progress reports. What can we learn from these reports, and what are the next steps?
by Lotte Geunis, Parliamentary Development Officer, United Nations Development Programme— Jan 13, 2016
Since its launch in 2010, the AGORA Portal for Parliamentary Development has worked with over a dozen global, regional, and national partners to support parliamentary development actors across the globe. Following extensive partner and user consultations, AGORA was re-launched in 2013 to accommodate the increasing demand for interactive learning and capacity building and now hosts a state of the art e-learning portal with courses designed for parliaments, parliamentary staff, and practitioners.
by Ryan Flynn, International Budget Partnership— Jan 11, 2016
Nigeria has long suffered from a lack of transparency and accountability in its public finances. The latest round of the Open Budget Survey found that, despite gains made between 2012 and 2015, Nigeria’s national budget remains one of the least transparent in sub-Saharan Africa. Yet under the country’s federal governance system, spending at the national level is only part of the story. State governments not only receive a significant chunk of oil revenues, they also have power to raise funds independently, including through income tax. States share responsibility for delivering a range of basic services such as health, education, and investments in agriculture. Indeed around 47 percent of all capital expenditure flows through state coffers. All in all, the effectiveness of state governments – and the transparency and accountability of state budgets – are crucial.