Government Responses to the Open Budget Survey
Government Responses to the Open Budget Survey
By measuring how transparent and accountable governments’ budgets are in comparison to over 100 countries around the world, the Open Budget Survey pressures governments to improve, provides them with practical steps they can take, and recognizes those that do so. Since the 2008 Survey, a number of governments have responded to the results in words and, more important, positive actions. Though some governments have raised questions about the Survey and how they were ranked, the IBP and its civil society partners in the countries studied are encouraged by the steps several governments have taken to make their budget systems more open and responsive. Governments have:
- published Citizens Budgets;
- issued statements mentioning their country’s performance on the Open Budget Index (OBI), especially highlighting improvement; and
- committed to act to increase budget transparency in their country.
Government responses to the Open Budget Survey 2017
View government responses to the Open Budget Survey 2017 on the News & Updates page »
Government responses to the Open Budget Survey 2015
- The Government of Ghana posted a summary of the Open Budget Survey 2015 release event and findings on its website »
Hon. Calle Schlettwein (MP), Minister of Finance of the Republic of Namibia, spoke at the Institute for Public Policy Research‘s national launch event of the Open Budget Survey 2015, saying:
- “The Open Budget Index can be regarded as a credible indicator of the state of budget transparency, participation, and oversight of countries participating in the survey. I say this, because the Survey does not reflect opinions, but it measures observable facts related to budget transparency, accountability, and participation. In addition, provision is made during the Survey for the Government to review and change responses to the Questionnaire. It, therefore, represents a good tool to show us where improvements can be made to promote public access to budget information and the adoption of accountable budget systems.” Read more »
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Finance and Economic Development mentioned the Open Budget Survey and Sierra Leone’s results in the Budget Speech 2015.
- “[In] 2012, when Sierra Leone took part in the Open Budget Survey for the first time, we scored 39 out of 100. In 2015, we scored 52 out of 100, better than Ghana and Liberia, and higher than the global average of 45. The survey report also confirmed that Budget oversight by the supreme audit institution in Sierra Leone is adequate, for which Sierra Leone scored 67 percent.”
Government officials participated in a panel discussion at the Center of Excellence in Finance‘s national launch event of the Open Budget Survey 2015:
- “Ms. Urška Ban, Chair of Committee on Finance and Monetary Policy from Slovenian National Assembly, Ms. Saša Jazbec, Director General for Budget of the Ministry of Finance, Slovenia and Mr. Jorg Kristijan Petrovic, First Deputy President at Court of Audit discussed how different institutions ensure budget transparency and what practices would be needed to fulfill some of the recommendations given by the IBP. They pointed out that Slovenian public should be provided with sufficient information on budget in accessible manner. Also, means of public participation during budget process and budget-related reforms were discussed.” Read more »
The South African Government released a media statement on their Open Budget Survey 2015 performance.
- “In view of South Africa’s commitment to improving budget participation, the National Treasury is pursing the following measures:
- Continued support to civil society in their preparation of citizen-friendly publications about national budgets tabled in Parliament.
- A possible collaboration with civil society organisations that includes looking into creating a data portal in the near future will be looked into, to provide data in a user friendly format and create a social dialogue on budget issues.” Read more »
Government responses to the Open Budget Survey 2012
The Afghanistan Ministry of Finance issued a press release highlighting the country’s significant improvement on the Open Budget Survey 2012 compared to 2010. The results show the second greatest improvement in budget transparency over all countries in the world. Afghanistan’s score rose 38 points to 59 in 2012 from a score of 21 in 2010 and 8 in 2008. The country was in seventy-third position in 2010 and is currently twenty-sixth.
Government responses to the Open Budget Survey 2010
Egypt, Brazil, and Mexico Publish Citizens Budgets
A Citizens Budget is a nontechnical presentation of either a country’s proposed or enacted budget. Budget documents tend to be rather dense and complex, which limits the ability of the average citizen to decipher how the government intends to raise and spend public funds. By presenting the government’s budget plans in ways that most people can understand, publishing a Citizens Budgets demonstrates a government’s commitment to being open and accountable to the public.
- After the Middle East/North Africa regional release of the Open Budget Survey 2010 in Amman, Jordan, officials from the Egyptian Ministry of Finance and the OBI partner in Egypt, Professor Lobna Abdellatif from the American University of Cairo, discussed the publication of a Citizens Budget. In December 2010 Egypt became the first government in the Middle East and North Africa region to produce a Citizens Budget. In January 2010 the Mexican government started publishing a Citizens Budget after several months of dialogue with IBP partner Fundar. The Mexican government worked with Fundar for two years to develop a Citizen’s Budgets with the guidelines established in the OBI’s Guide to the Open Budget Questionnaire: An Explanation of the Questions and the Response Options.
- Officials from the Ministry of Planning, Budget, and Management in Brazil met with the Open Budget Initiative regarding Brazil’s score on the Open Budget Survey 2008 and committed to producing a Citizens Budget. In 2010 the Brazilian government published a Citizens Budget for the 2011 fiscal year.
Afghanistan, Guatemala, Kyrgyz Republic, Mexico, and South Africa Issue Statements Responding to the Open Budget Survey
- The Afghanistan Ministry of Finance issued a press release highlighting the country’s significant improvement on the Open Budget Survey 2010 compared to 2008.
- The Kyrgyz Republic Ministry of Finance regards the results of the Open Budget Survey 2010 as “incorrect and biased.”
- The Guatemalan government took credit for earning a 2010 OBI score that was above the regional average for Latin America. The Vice Minister of Public Finance, Marco Livio Díaz Reyes, and the Director of Fiscal Transparency, Casta Luz Meza, stated the government’s political will to improve budget transparency and the enactment of the Freedom of Information law in the country are the reasons why the country has improved on the Open Budget Survey.
- The Mexican government cites the Open Budget Survey in the Executive’s Budget Proposal 2011, stating that the Survey “shows that the federal government provides budget information to citizens, publishes detailed reports throughout the year and budget information necessary to understand the government’s progress in implementing a specific project or activity is accessible.”
- The South African Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan, praised South Africa’s top performance on the Open Budget Survey 2010. He challenged parliamentarians to improve oversight, accountability, and service delivery to improve the lives of South Africans.
Government Commitments from Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Guatemala, and Iraq
The Open Budget Survey 2010 shows improvement in budget transparency among the 40 countries that have been measured over three consecutive rounds of the study. Political will can be attributed to the improved performance of many countries, including Afghanistan, Liberia, and Yemen. Governments can improve transparency and accountability quickly and easily by publishing online all of the budget information they already produced. After the international and national releases of the 2010 Survey several governments have committed to increasing budget transparency in their country.
- In December 2010 the Afghanistan Ministry of Finance issued a press release committing to releasing the Executive’s Budget Proposal on the Ministry of Finance’s website at the same time it is presented to parliament for approval and to publishing a Citizens Budget.
- In its 2011 Budget Report, the Bulgarian government committed to continue expanding opportunities for citizen participation in budget processes and to increasing budget transparency overall.
- In October 2010 the Guatemalan Vice Minister of Public Finance and the Director of Fiscal Transparency committed to increasing budget transparency, and thus Guatemala’s performance in the next round of the Open Budget Survey. In addition, the government of Guatemala agreed to receive technical assistance from IBP through its Mentoring Governments Program.
- Officials from the Iraqi Ministry of Finance at the regional release of the Open Budget Survey 2010 in Amman, Jordan, announced its commitment to establish a “Special Committee” on budget transparency.