Sep 10, 2015 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has ranked among countries in the world that provides the public with minimal budget information, a new survey showed.
International Budget Partnership released its latest survey which measures the state of budget transparency, participation, and oversight in 100 countries around the world.
The Open Budget Index measures the level of information and timely publication of eight key budget documents using a score out of 100.
In Sri Lanka, the survey was conducted by Verité Research. It shows the country’s budget transparency score declined from 46 in the world in 2012 to 39 this year which is below the present global average of 45.
The survey has evaluated the budget that was implemented for the year 2014, and the score resulted in Sri Lanka being ranked 69 among 102 countries. This means 68 countries before us had a more transparent budget process, Verité Research said.
The government of Sri Lanka is weak in providing the public with opportunities to engage in the budget process, and the survey results also show that the budget oversight by the legislature in Sri Lanka is weak.
Budget oversight by the supreme auditing institution in Sri Lanka, which is the Auditor General’s department, is ranked as adequate, the report showed.
The report calls on the government to improve transparency, participation and oversight in order to climb up in the index.
The report calls on the government to establish credible and effective mechanisms for capturing a range of public perspectives on budget matters.
It also proposes establishment of formal mechanisms for the public to assist the supreme audit institution to formulate its audit program and participate in audit investigations.
The report highlighted the need to publish in-year reports, pre-budget statement, a citizens budget, and a mid-year review in a timely manner to improve the transparency of budget formation.
A Citizens Budget is a simpler and less technical version of the government’s budget, specifically designed to convey key information to the public.
Sri Lanka’s budget transparency has been in decline over the term of the previous Parliament.
In 2008 and 2010 Sri Lanka ranked first in South Asia, but at present the country is ranked almost at the very bottom in South Asia. Nepal gets a lower score than Sri Lanka.