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Saudi Arabia

Which countries lead in budget accountability? Which ones need improvement? Explore our data and recommendations for each of the 120 countries assessed.

 

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Open Budget Survey Results

Public Participation

0

Budget Oversight

11

Transparency

23

Open Budget Survey 2021

Government budget decisions – what taxes to levy, what services to provide, and how much debt to take on – have important consequences for all people in society. When governments provide information and meaningful channels for the public to engage in these decisions, we can better ensure public money is spent on public interests.

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The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument that uses internationally accepted criteria to assess public access to central government budget information; formal opportunities for the public to participate in the national budget process; and the role of budget oversight institutions, such as legislatures and national audit offices, in the budget process.

The survey helps local civil society assess and confer with their government on the reporting and use of public funds. This 8th edition of the OBS covers 120 countries.

Summary
Country Specific Assessments
Country summary EN
pdf, 318.63 KB
Questionnaire EN
pdf, 880.16 KB
23 /100

This part of the OBS measures public access to information on how the central government raises and spends public resources. It assesses the online availability, timeliness, and comprehensiveness of eight key budget documents using 109 equally weighted indicators and scores each country on a scale of 0 to 100. A transparency score of 61 or above indicates a country is likely publishing enough material to support informed public debate on the budget.

Transparency in Saudi Arabia compared to others

Global Average
45
Jordan
61
Morocco
48
Egypt
43
Tunisia
42
Saudi Arabia
23
Lebanon
9
Iraq
6
Algeria
3
Qatar
2
Sudan
1
Yemen
0
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Saudi Arabia’s ranking: 99 of 120 countries

0
100

How has the transparency score for Saudi Arabia changed over time?

1
2010
1
2012
0
2015
1
2017
18
2019
23
2021
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Public availability of budget documents in Saudi Arabia

Key
Available to the Public
Published Late, or Not Published Online, or Produced for Internal Use Only
Not Produced
Scroll
Document 2010 2012 2015 2017 2019 2021
Pre-Budget Statement
Executive’s Budget Proposal
Enacted Budget
Citizens Budget
In-Year Reports
Mid-Year Review
Year-End Report
Audit Report

How comprehensive is the content of the key budget documents that Saudi Arabia makes available to the public?

Key
61-100 / 100
41-60 / 100
1-40 / 100
Scroll
Key budget document Document purpose and contents Fiscal year assessed Document content score
Pre-Budget Statement Discloses the broad parameters of fiscal policies in advance of the Executive's Budget Proposal; outlines the government's economic forecast, anticipated revenue, expenditures, and debt. 2021 78
Executive’s Budget Proposal Submitted by the executive to the legislature for approval; details the sources of revenue, the allocations to ministries, proposed policy changes, and other information important for understanding the country's fiscal situation. 2021 Not Produced
Enacted Budget The budget that has been approved by the legislature. 2021 61
Citizens Budget A simpler and less technical version of the government's Executive’s Budget Proposal or the Enacted Budget, designed to convey key information to the public. 2021 58
In-Year Reports Include information on actual revenues collected, actual expenditures made, and debt incurred at different intervals; issued quarterly or monthly. 2020 63
Mid-Year Review A comprehensive update on the implementation of the budget as of the middle of the fiscal year; includes a review of economic assumptions and an updated forecast of budget outcomes. 2020 33
Year-End Report Describes the situation of the government's accounts at the end of the fiscal year and, ideally, an evaluation of the progress made toward achieving the budget's policy goals. 2019 38
Audit Report Issued by the supreme audit institution, this document examines the soundness and completeness of the government's year-end accounts. 2019 Internal Use

Saudi Arabia’s transparency score of 23 in the OBS 2021 is near its score in 2019.

What changed in OBS 2021?

Saudi Arabia has increased the availability of budget information by:

Publishing the Mid-Year Review online.

Recommendations

Saudi Arabia should prioritize the following actions to improve budget transparency:

Publish the Audit Report online in a timely manner.
Submit the Executive's Budget Proposal to the Shura Council and publish it online in a timely manner.
Improve the comprehensiveness of the Mid-Year Review and publish it as a standalone document.
Improve the comprehensiveness of the Year-End Report.
0 /100

The OBS assesses the formal opportunities offered to the public for meaningful participation in the different stages of the budget process. It examines the practices of the central government’s executive, the legislature, and the supreme audit institution (SAI) using 18 equally weighted indicators, aligned with the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency’s Principles of Public Participation in Fiscal Policies , and scores each country on a scale from 0 to 100.

Saudi Arabia has a public participation score of 0 (out of 100).

Public participation in Saudi Arabia compared to others

Global Average
14
Egypt
19
Tunisia
15
Morocco
7
Jordan
4
Sudan
4
Saudi Arabia
0
Algeria
0
Iraq
0
Lebanon
0
Qatar
0
Yemen
0
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

For more information, see here  for innovative public participation practices around the world.

Extent of opportunities for public participation in the budget process

0
/100
Formulation
(executive)
0
/100
Approval
(legislature)
0
/100
Implementation
(executive)
0
/100
Audit
(supreme audit institution)
Key
0-40: Few
41-60: Limited
61-100: Adequate

Recommendations

To further strengthen public participation in the budget process, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance should prioritize the following actions:

While Saudi Arabia hosts a Budget Forum and discusses budget trends with the public, it lacks formal mechanisms that solicit citizen input into key budget decisions. Pilot mechanisms should be developed during budget formulation and implementation with an emphasis on formally recording comments and input from the public – and demonstration that these are taken on board.

Saudi Arabia's General Auditing Bureau (GAB) should prioritize the following actions to improve public participation in the budget process:

Establish formal mechanisms for the public to assist in developing its audit program and to contribute to relevant audit investigations.
11 /100

The OBS examines the role that legislatures and supreme audit institutions (SAIs) play in the budget process and the extent to which they provide oversight; each country is scored on a scale from 0 to 100 based on 18 equally weighted indicators. In addition, the survey collects supplementary information on independent fiscal institutions (see Box).

The legislature and supreme audit institution in Saudi Arabia, together, provide weak oversight during the budget process, with a composite oversight score of 11 (out of 100). Taken individually, the extent of each institution’s oversight is shown below:

Legislative oversight

0
0
100
no

Audit oversight

0
33
100
weak
Key
0-40: Few
41-60: Limited
61-100: Adequate

Recommendations

Saudi Arabia's Shura Council provides no oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and no oversight during the implementation stage. To improve oversight, the following actions should be prioritized:

The legislature should be given the opportunity to debate budget policy before the finalisation of Executive’s Budget Proposal and provide recommendations for the upcoming budget.
The Executive’s Budget Proposal should be submitted to legislators at least two months before the start of the budget year.
Legislative committees should examine the Executive’s Budget Proposal and publish reports with their analysis online.
A legislative committee should examine in-year budget implementation and publish reports with their findings online.
In practice, ensure the legislature is informed before the executive shifts funds specified in the Enacted Budget between administrative units; spends any unanticipated revenue; or reduces spending due to revenue shortfalls during the budget year.

To strengthen independence and improve audit oversight by the Saudi Arabia General Auditing Bureau (GAB), the following actions are recommended:

Ensure audit processes are reviewed by an independent agency located outside of the GAB.

The emerging practice of establishing independent fiscal institutions

Saudi Arabia does not have an independent fiscal institution (IFI). IFIs are increasingly recognized as valuable independent and nonpartisan information providers to the Executive and/or Parliament during the budget process.

*These indicators are *not* scored in the Open Budget Survey.

Methodology

  • Only documents published and events, activities, or developments that took place through 31 December 2020 were assessed in the OBS 2021.
     
  • The survey is based on a questionnaire completed in each country by an independent budget expert:

    For inquiries please contact the International Budget Partnership

    [email protected]
  • To further strengthen the research, each country’s draft questionnaire is also reviewed by an anonymous independent expert, and in Saudi Arabia by a representative of the Ministry of Finance.
Past reports
Years
Language
Country summary EN
PDF, en
Questionnaire EN
PDF, en
Country summary AR
PDF, ar
Country summary AR
PDF, AR
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary AR
PDF, AR
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary AR
PDF, AR
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary AR
PDF, AR
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN