Information on Budgets Still Weak, IBP Survey Finds

22 October 2010

Information on government budgets is improving, but in many countries is so minimal that governments can hide unpopular, wasteful and corrupt spending, according to the third annual Open Budget Survey 2010 by the International Budget Partnership (IBP).

The survey found significant deficiencies in 40 of the 94 countries evaluated.

“The Survey data reveal a strong correlation between a country’s lack of budget transparency and accountability and whether it relies heavily on oil and gas revenue, receives significant amounts of foreign aid, or has an authoritarian government,” according to the group.

On a positive note, the survey found that in the 40 countries that have been measured over three consecutive surveys , “there has been a nearly 20 percent improvement in the average performance.”  The group said further, “More important, this overall improvement is driven by substantial improvements in the budget transparency in a number of low-income countries over the past two to four years, in some cases supported by donor influence and assistance.”

IBP also summarized:

The 2010 Survey also reveals that governments can improve transparency and accountability quickly and easily by publishing online all of the budget information they already produce and by inviting public participation in the budget process. It calls on them to do so, and on donors to create better incentives to encourage improvements in budget transparency in the countries they support, including providing more on-budget support and technical assistance both to the executive and to oversight institutions and actors (legislatures, audit institutions, civil society, media, etc.).

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Filed under: IFTI Watch

ABOUT IFTI WATCH

In this column, Washington, D.C.-based journalist Toby J. McIntosh reports on the latest developments in information disclosure in International Financial and Trade Institutions (IFTI).
Contact: freeinfo@gwu.edu or
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