Most governments fail to account for spending: report

WASHINGTON, January 31, 2009 (AFP) – Eighty percent of the world’s governments fail to provide adequate information on spending to the public, often because of a lack of political will, according to a report published Saturday. The International Budget Partnership (IBP), a non-governmental organization that promotes transparency in government, said it evaluated the budgets of 85 countries — looking at whether information was made accessible to allow the public to participate in the budget process and hold officials accountable.

Nearly 50 percent of the 85 countries “provide such minimal information that they are able to hide unpopular, wasteful, and corrupt spending,” the IBP said.

The IBP said a significant finding was that many governments produce the budget information that would allow the public to participate effectively but do not release it.

In 51 of the 85 countries, the government produces at least one key document that is not disclosed to the public, the survey found.

The group used the findings of data collected before September 28 to calculate country rankings on a transparency index.

Britain was the highest-ranked country, at 88 percent, followed by a tie between France and South A