South Africa ranks third in international budget index
South Africa was ranked third in the International Budget Partnership’s (IBP’s) 2015 Open Budget Index (OBI) survey, which measured governments’ budget transparency, citizen participation and independent oversight in 102 countries.
Sweden took first place, followed by New Zealand.
“Over the years, South Africa has consistently entrenched its reputation as a global leader in budget transparency.
This is evidenced in the expansive budget information that is published for public analysis and scrutiny, as well as in its performance in international budget surveys,” the National Treasury said in a statement.
National Treasury used past survey results to identify gaps in budget transparency and informed measures and mechanisms to bridge those gaps.
Government had implemented several reforms between 2010 and this year, including the introduction of a new framework for strategic plans and annual performance plans, procurement reforms undertaken by the office of the chief procurement officer to enhance transparency in bidding for government contracts, and enhanced commitment of local government to engaging with civil society organisations, ensuring increased participation in the budget process.
South Africa ranked first in the OBI survey in 2010, and the 2015 ranking reflected that more emphasis should be placed on budget participation.
National Treasury would pursue measures including continued support to civil society in its preparation of citizen-friendly publications about national budgets tabled in Parliament and a possible collaboration with civil society organisations that included looking into creating a data portal in the near future.
The survey found that 98 of the 102 countries surveyed lacked adequate systems for ensuring that public funds were used efficiently and effectively.
The 98 countries fell short on at least one of these pillars of accountability; while 32 fell short on all three. These included a number of countries that have consistently provided scant or no budget information at all, such as Algeria, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Iraq, Myanmar, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.