Contents
Transparency:
40
/100
(Open Budget Index score)
Public Participation:
2
/100
Budget Oversight:
57
/100

Government budget decisions – what taxes to levy, what services to provide, and how much debt to take on – affect how equal a society is and the well-being of its people, including whether the most disadvantaged will have real opportunities for a better life. It is critical that governments inform and engage the public on these vital decisions that impact their lives.

The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument that uses internationally accepted criteria to assess public access to central government budget information; formal opportunities for the public to participate in the national budget process; and the role of budget oversight institutions such as the legislature and auditor in the budget process.

The survey helps local civil society assess and confer with their government on the reporting and use of public funds. This 7th edition of the OBS covers 117 countries.

Transparency

This part of the OBS measures public access to information on how the central government raises and spends public resources. It assesses the online availability, timeliness, and comprehensiveness of eight key budget documents using 109 equally weighted indicators and scores each country on a scale of 0 to 100. A transparency score of 61 or above indicates a country is likely publishing enough material to support informed public debate on the budget.

Serbia has a transparency score of 40 (out of 100).

Transparency in Serbia compared to others

Global Average
45
Bulgaria
71
Croatia
68
Slovenia
68
Romania
64
Albania
55
Serbia
40
Bosnia and Herzegovina
33
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Serbia’s ranking: 70 of 117 countries

0
100

How has the transparency score for Serbia changed over time?

54
2010
39
2012
47
2015
43
2017
40
2019
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Public availability of budget documents in Serbia

Available to the Public
Published Late, or Not Published Online, or Produced for Internal Use Only
Not Produced
Scroll
Document 2010 2012 2015 2017 2019
Pre-Budget Statement
Executive’s Budget Proposal
Enacted Budget
Citizens Budget
In-Year Reports
Mid-Year Review
Year-End Report
Audit Report

How comprehensive is the content of the key budget documents that Serbia makes available to the public?

61-100 / 100
41-60 / 100
1-40 / 100
Scroll
Key budget document Document purpose and contents Fiscal year assessed Document content score
Pre-Budget Statement Discloses the broad parameters of fiscal policies in advance of the Executive's Budget Proposal; outlines the government's economic forecast, anticipated revenue, expenditures, and debt. 2019 Not Produced
Executive’s Budget Proposal Submitted by the executive to the legislature for approval; details the sources of revenue, the allocations to ministries, proposed policy changes, and other information important for understanding the country's fiscal situation. 2019 51
Enacted Budget The budget that has been approved by the legislature. 2019 89
Citizens Budget A simpler and less technical version of the government's Executive’s Budget Proposal or the Enacted Budget, designed to convey key information to the public. 2018 25
In-Year Reports Include information on actual revenues collected, actual expenditures made, and debt incurred at different intervals; issued quarterly or monthly. 2018 59
Mid-Year Review A comprehensive update on the implementation of the budget as of the middle of the fiscal year; includes a review of economic assumptions and an updated forecast of budget outcomes. 2018 Internal Use
Year-End Report Describes the situation of the government's accounts at the end of the fiscal year and, ideally, an evaluation of the progress made toward achieving the budget's policy goals. 2017 Not Produced
Audit Report Issued by the supreme audit institution, this document examines the soundness and completeness of the government's year-end accounts. 2017 57

Serbia’s transparency score of 40 in the OBS 2019 is near its score in 2017.

What changed in OBS 2019?

Serbia has increased the availability of budget information by:

Publishing the Citizens Budget online.

Recommendations

Serbia should prioritize the following actions to improve budget transparency:

Publish the Mid-Year Review online in a timely manner.
Produce and publish the Pre-Budget Statement and Year-End Report online in a timely manner.
Include additional policy and fiscal risk information in the Executive's Budget Proposal.
Improve the comprehensiveness of the Citizens Budget (CB) by: distributing it via additional means of dissemination; establishing mechanisms to identify the public’s requirements for budget information in the CB; and publishing CBs for additional stages of the budget process.
Improve the comprehensiveness of the Audit Report by: auditing a greater percentage of expenditures within the mandate of the State Audit Institution. In addition, the executive should report publicly on steps it has taken to address audit findings, and either the State Audit Institution or the National Assembly should release a report tracking actions taken by the executive to respond to audit recommendations.

Public Participation

Transparency alone is insufficient for improving governance. Inclusive public participation is crucial for realizing the positive outcomes associated with greater budget transparency.

The OBS also assesses the formal opportunities offered to the public for meaningful participation in the different stages of the budget process. It examines the practices of the central government’s executive, the legislature, and the supreme audit institution (SAI) using 18 equally weighted indicators, aligned with the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency’s Principles of Public Participation in Fiscal Policies , and scores each country on a scale from 0 to 100.

Serbia has a public participation score of 2 (out of 100).

Public participation in Serbia compared to others

Global Average
14
Bulgaria
26
Croatia
22
Slovenia
11
Albania
7
Bosnia and Herzegovina
7
Serbia
2
Romania
2
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

For more information, see here for innovative public participation practices around the world.

Extent of opportunities for public participation in the budget process

0
/100
Formulation
(executive)
11
/100
Approval
(legislature)
0
/100
Implementation
(executive)
0
/100
Audit
(supreme audit institution)

few: 0 - 40; limited: 41 - 60; adequate: 61 - 100

Recommendations

To further strengthen public participation in the budget process, Serbia's Ministry of Finance should prioritize the following actions:

Pilot mechanisms to engage the public during budget formulation and to monitor budget implementation.
Actively engage with vulnerable and underrepresented communities, directly or through civil society organizations representing them.

Serbia's National Assembly has established public hearings related to the approval of the annual budget, but should also prioritize the following actions:

Allow any member of the public or any civil society organization to testify during its hearings on the budget proposal prior to its approval.
Allow members of the public or civil society organizations to testify during its hearings on the Audit Report.

Serbia's State Audit Institution should prioritize the following actions to improve public participation in the budget process:

Establish formal mechanisms for the public to assist in developing its audit program and to contribute to relevant audit investigations.

Budget Oversight

The OBS also examines the role that legislatures and supreme audit institutions (SAIs) play in the budget process and the extent to which they provide oversight; each country is scored on a scale from 0 to 100 based on 18 equally weighted indicators. In addition, the survey collects supplementary information on independent fiscal institutions (see Box).

The legislature and supreme audit institution in Serbia, together, provide limited oversight during the budget process, with a composite oversight score of 57 (out of 100). Taken individually, the extent of each institution’s oversight is shown below:

Legislative oversight

0
44
100
limited

Audit oversight

0
83
100
adequate

weak: 0 - 40; limited: 41 - 60; adequate: 61 - 100

Recommendations

Serbia's National Assembly provides limited oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and weak oversight during the implementation stage. To improve oversight, the following actions should be prioritized:

The legislature should debate budget policy before the Executive’s Budget Proposal is tabled and approve recommendations for the upcoming budget.
The Executive’s Budget Proposal should be submitted to legislators at least two months before the start of the budget year.
Legislative committees should examine the Executive’s Budget Proposal and publish reports with their analysis online.
A legislative committee should examine in-year budget implementation and publish reports with their findings online.
In practice, ensure the legislature is consulted before the executive shifts funds specified in the Enacted Budget between administrative units during the budget year.
A legislative committee should examine the Audit Report and publish a report with their findings online.

To strengthen independence and improve audit oversight by the Serbia State Audit Institution, the following actions are recommended:

Ensure audit processes are reviewed by an independent agency.

The emerging practice of establishing independent fiscal institutions

Serbia’s independent fiscal institution (IFI) is the Fiscal Council. Its independence is set in law, and it reports to the legislature. It publishes its own fiscal forecasts, and its own cost estimates of major new policy proposals.

*The indicators for IFIs are *not* scored

Methodology

  • Only documents published and events, activities, or developments that took place through 31 December 2018 were assessed in the OBS 2019.
     
  • The survey is based on a questionnaire completed in each country by an independent budget expert:
    Miša Bojović; Nemanja Nenadić
    Transparency Serbia
    Palmoticeva 31/III 11000 Belgrade Serbia
    [email protected]; [email protected]
  • To further strengthen the research, each country’s draft questionnaire is also reviewed by an anonymous independent expert, and in Serbia by a representative of the Ministry of Finance.

 

Other years