by Leo Mutuku, PesaCheck— Jun 01, 2017
When budget stories make the news, fact checking is crucial. Now more than ever, individuals and intermediary organizations need to cultivate a culture of fact-checking given that misinformation is rife with changing global socio-political dynamics. What have we learned from Kenya’s PesaCheck initiative? And how can these lessons guide civil society organizations interested in running similar fact-checking initiatives?
by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— May 25, 2017
Trevor Manuel was South Africa’s Minister of Finance from 1996 to 2009, serving under three different presidents. During his long tenure, he built South Africa’s Treasury into a strong and well-respected organization and introduced wide-ranging budget reforms. In this interview, Mr. Manuel looks back at some of the reforms he introduced that turned South Africa into a world leader in budget transparency.
by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— May 23, 2017
Dr. Mustafa Mastoor has been Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Finance of Afghanistan since 2008. Previously, Dr. Mastoor served as Director General for Budget in the same ministry. In these functions, he has promoted a series of budget transparency reforms that resulted in impressive improvements in Afghanistan’s Open Budget Index score. In this interview, Dr. Mastoor reflects on Afghanistan’s budget transparency reforms trajectory, and the challenges encountered along the way.
by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— May 18, 2017
Florence Kuteesa served 21 years in the Ugandan Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, rising from the level of economist to the post of Budget Director, which she held until December 2004. She then worked for two years in a private consulting firm, and thereafter six and half years with the International Monetary Fund’s Fiscal Affairs Department, until 2016. In the Ugandan government, she introduced a number of budget reforms that turned Uganda into a regional example in PFM systems and budget transparency practices. In this interview, Ms. Kuteesa remembers the early stages of Uganda’s budget transparency reforms, and the bridges that they built between government and civil society.
by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— May 16, 2017
Benjamin Hill Mayoral held a series of important policy positions in the Government of Mexico, both in the Ministry of Public Administration (Executive Secretary of the Inter-Ministerial Commission for Transparency and Corruption Control, and Head of the Transparency Policy and International Cooperation Unit) and at the Ministry of Finance (Head of the Performance Evaluation Unit). While at the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Hill oversaw the creation of Mexico’s budget transparency portal, an award-winning initiative that has greatly improved citizens’ access to budget information. In this interview with Paolo de Renzio, Senior Research Fellow at the International Budget Partnership, Mr. Hill recollects his efforts to build the portal and other related reforms.
by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— May 11, 2017
Florencio “Butch” Barsana Abad was Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) of the Philippines during the period 2010-2016. Previously, he had served as Secretary of the Department of Education and Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform. He was also a congress member (three terms), lawyer, trade unionist, and an educator and activist. As Budget Secretary, he championed active citizenship and open government through citizen participation in planning and budgeting and making essential budget documents and information publicly available. Through the Bottom-Up Budgeting (BUB) Program, he institutionalized people’s participation in the budget process and enabled civil society organizations to partner with their local governments to address poverty in their communities. In this interview with Paolo de Renzio, Senior Research Fellow at the International Budget Partnership, Mr. Abad recalls the range of reforms that he helped introduce while at DBM.
by Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership— May 09, 2017
Jorge Hage Sobrinho was Deputy Minister of Brazil’s Federal Comptroller General (Controladoria-Geral da União, or CGU) from 2003 to 2006, and its Chief Minister from 2006 to 2014. While at CGU, he oversaw significant transparency reforms, including the launch of Brazil’s fiscal transparency portal, a user-friendly online tool for searching and downloading detailed budget information that has drawn wide praise both within and outside Brazil. In this interview with IBP’s Paolo de Renzio, Minister Hage reflects on his time at CGU and on the transparency reforms that he helped introduce and implement.
by Ryan Flynn for the International Budget Partnership— Apr 19, 2017
When Freedom Forum, a civil society organization based in Nepal, decided to use the country’s Right to Information (RTI) laws to investigate special funds allocated to parliamentarians, they uncovered a vast array of wasteful projects. Such nebulous spending was being channeled through Nepal’s Constituency Development Funds (CDFs), mechanisms for allocating money from the national coffers for parliamentarians to spend in their local constituencies. Using Nepal’s Right to Information law to investigate CDFs, Freedom Forum painstakingly traced how money was being spent and projects were supposed to be administered. They then worked with investigative journalists to piece together a series of exposés revealing the misuse of public money.
by Daniel Baksa, David Mihalyi, and Balazs Romhanyi— Mar 28, 2017
When optimism fuels public spending and earnings fail to materialize, a country can quickly find itself in fiscal crisis. Civil society has a crucial role to play in ensuring government policies are sustainable, yet interrogating the assumptions underlying budget decisions can be dauntingly complex. For this reason the Natural Resource Government Institute and the Fiscal Responsibility Institute Budapest have developed a tool to help potential watchdogs grapple with these complexities.
By Rocio Campos, International Budget Partnership— Mar 09, 2017
Building consensus and using evidence to influence policy can be particularly challenging in contexts where political polarization has become entrenched. This was the scenario in El Salvador in 2014, when IBP started working with a diverse group of civil society organizations to influence the debate on pension reform. Tactics included producing evidence for decision makers and working to socialize basic facts about the reform with the wider public.