The 2015 Open Budget Survey (OBS) has revealed that Ghana scored 51 per cent on the budget survey index, largely the same as it scored in 2012, falling below Sierra Leone which scored 52 per cent.


The OBS report, the fifth in a series, is the world’s only independent comparative survey of budget transparency, citizen participation and independent oversight institutions in the budgeting process.


Drawing on its internationally-accepted criteria developed by multilateral organizations, the OBS uses 109 indicators to measure budget transparency and to assess whether the central government makes the 8 key budget documents available to the public on time.


Speaking at the National Launch of the Survey in Accra, yesterday, the Country Director of SEND-GHANA, Mr. George Osei-Bimpeh, said Ghana, among the 102 countries surveyed in the latest OBS, continued to struggle in order to meet a set target of 67 per cent by 2016.


Mr Osei-Bimpeh added that though Ghana’s performance has increased over the years for providing citizen budget on financial activities, there was more room for improvement.


He indicated that according to the International Budget Partnership (IBP), Ghana, in 2006, provided citizens with information on central government budget and financial activities and scored 42 per cent.


He said in 2012, Ghana’s performance dipped with a 50 per cent score out of 100, which was a little higher than the average score of 43 for all the 100 countries surveyed and the highest in West Africa Region, adding that Ghana’s 2012 score of 50 had decreased from its 54 per cent in 2010.


Mr Osei-Bimpeh attributed the decrease in Ghana’s Open Budget Index (OBI) to the fact that government only provided the public with inadequate information on budget documents.


He said there were 8 budget documents, but one-third of them were not made available to the citizen, even though Ghana consistently produced and published the Executive Budget Proposal and the Enacted Budget.


He appealed to government to consistently produce the remaining six budget documents which include: Year-End Report, Mid-Year Review, In-Year Report, Citizens’ Budget, Pre-budget statement and the Audit Report to the public.


On recommendations, the Country Director urged government to improve transparency by increasing the comprehensiveness of the Executive’s Budget Proposal and present more information on the classification of expenditures for future years.


Government, he said, should also provide detailed feedback on how public perspectives had been captured.


Mr Osei-Bimpeh said government could also increase public participation by establishing formal hearing on the budgets of specific Ministries, Departments and Agencies.


He added that to improve oversight, government should establish a specialized budget research office for the Legislature and ensure the Legislature was consulted prior to the allocation of funds in the Enacted Budget and the spending of any unanticipated revenue.


“The supreme audit institution must have adequate funding to perform its duties, as determined by an independent body,” he said.


Source: ISD (Aliyah Bayali)

Created: 11 September 2015
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