New Zealand tops global transparency ranking
New Zealand has topped a global budget transparency ranking for the second time this year.
The Open Budget Index ranks around 100 countries every two to three years based on how timely the publish key budget documents.
This year, New Zealand is followed by Sweden in second, and South Africa in third place.
The last spot is occupied by Saudi Arabia, which slipped down four places compared to the 2012 index; Qatar came second to last – up one place from 2012; and Myanmar was in third-to-last place – also up one spot from 2012.
The index is part of the Open Budget Survey, which examines the current state of budget transparency and how it has changed over time; the degree to which opportunities for public participation in the budget process are present; and the strength of the two formal oversight institutions, the legislature and the supreme audit institution.
A spokesman for the Open Budget Partnership (IBP), which compiles the findings, said that “combining all three pillars, only four countries – Brazil, Norway, South Africa, and the United States – provide sufficient budget transparency, establish sufficient opportunities for public participation, and have strong legislatures and supreme audit institutions.”
He said that 32 countries, including Algeria, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Equatorial Guinea, Fiji, Iraq, Myanmar, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia are insufficient on all three pillars of accountability and have consistently provided scant or no budget information at all.
“The public needs access to budget information and opportunities to participate throughout the budget process, Warren Krafchik, executive director of the IBP. “Coupled with oversight by legislatures and audit institutions this contributes to a more accountable use of public money.”
He added: “Budget accountability can no longer be pushed aside as a technical concern of bureaucrats.
“With the amount of funds likely to be mobilised through the new international development goals alone, and potentially through climate change agreements, the world has an unprecedented opportunity to address poverty, inequality, and other global challenges—but this will only happen if these resources are managed transparently and accountably.”