The Road to Budget Transparency in Argentina

The Road to Budget Transparency in Argentina

September 2017 | by Luciana Díaz Frers
Budget Transparency in Argentina
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The Open Budget Index assigns countries covered by the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey a transparency score on a 100-point scale using 109 of the Survey’s 140 questions. These questions focus specifically on whether the government provides the public with timely access to comprehensive budget information based on the public availability and content of eight key budget documents that all governments should publish over the different stages of the budget cycle. A score of roughly 60 is considered to represent the level at which countries are publishing sufficient information to allow public discussions on the budget to occur.

While Argentina has consistently produced six of the eight key budget documents included in the Open Budget Index, its scores from 2006-2015 range between 40 and 60, leaving it stuck in the middle. This case study examines Argentina’s journey toward greater budget transparency, describing inconsistencies and speculating about their potential causes.

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Honduras: The Fragility of Gains in Budget Transparency

Honduras: The Fragility of Gains in Budget Transparency

October 2016 | by Hugo Noe Pino and Brendan Halloran

Honduras: The Fragility of Gains in Budget Transparency

Honduras once stood out as example of how rapidly improvements in budget transparency could be made. In 2012 IBP praised the country for the exceptional gains it made on the Open Budget Index (OBI), when its score jumped from 11 in 2008 to 53 in 2012. Yet just a year later, amidst a period of troubled politics, the county suffered a series of setbacks that led to a tightening of the executive’s grip on the budgetary process and to freedom of information being restricted. This was reflected in its OBI score in 2015, which fell to 42.

In hindsight it seems likely that Honduras’ initial gains on the OBI were related to the need for the then government to shore up its international reputation and credibility following a military coup that ousted a democratically-elected president. This case study examines the background to the rise and fall of budget transparency in Honduras. It presents a cautionary tale about the dangers of “open washing,” and about political manipulation disguised as a window of opportunity.

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How Do Kenyans Prioritize at the Sector Level? Comparing Public and Government Preferences

How Do Kenyans Prioritize at the Sector Level? Comparing Public and Government Preferences

November 2016 | By Jason Lakin, Ph. D, IBP Kenya

kenya budget priorities In order to determine budget allocations for sectors such as health, education, and infrastructure, the Kenyan government is meant to consider the views of the general public. In reality, however, there has been relatively little discussion with the public about sector priorities. To get better a sense of public opinion, IBP Kenya sponsored a national survey asking citizens from across Kenya’s 47 counties what they thought the sector distribution of the national budget should be, and what they believed the actual allocation to be.

Four key points emerged from comparing the government’s current sector priorities with the public’s:

  1. The public wants less investment in the energy and infrastructure sector than the government.
  2. At the same time, the public wants higher spending on health and agriculture than the government has proposed.
  3. The public wants more spending on the economic and commercial affairs sector, and less in the governance and public administration sector.
  4. The public would also give less to education and more to security, environment, and water and social protection.

In this paper, we offer different perspectives on how to interpret these results. While more research is needed, we believe the survey results suggest the public does have concerns about the government’s priorities, and their preferences should be given weight in the decision-making process.

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Reference

  • Attitudes of Kenyans to The National & County Budget Making Process: Comprehensive Survey Report
    In August 2016, IBP Kenya worked with Infotrak Research & Consulting, a Kenyan survey research firm, to carry out a national survey of Kenyan attitudes on issues related to the national and county budget process. Part of the survey focused on sectors and sector preferences to find out which sectors are most important to Kenyans and how much they know about sector spending. To gather empirical evidence about Kenyan views on principles of equity, the survey also included a set of simple scenarios about sharing resources and questions designed to trigger views of fairness indirectly.

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How Does Civil Society Use Budget Information?

How Does Civil Society Use Budget Information?

December 2016 | By Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership and Massimo Mastruzzi, The World Bank

How Civil Society Uses Budget InformationGovernments sometimes complain that the budget information they make publicly available is seldom accessed and utilized. On the other hand, civil society organizations (CSOs) often claim that the information governments make available is very difficult to understand and not detailed enough to allow for meaningful analysis and advocacy. Is there a mismatch between the budget information supplied by governments and demand among civil society?

This paper examines the “demand side” of fiscal transparency using findings from a global survey of 176 individuals working in civil society that use budget information for analysis and advocacy activities. Based on the responses, the authors identify a “fiscal transparency effectiveness gap” between the fiscal information that governments often provide and the information that CSOs need.

These findings are used to develop a set of recommendations to help governments ensure their transparency practices deliver increased citizen engagement, improved oversight, and enhanced accountability.

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