Georgia Ranked 5th Among 115 Countries by Budget Transparency

The International Budget Partnership (IBP) has released a report entitled Open Budget Index 2017 (click for more info), where Georgia is ranked as 5th in 'budget transparency', among 115 countries.

The Open Budget Index is the world’s only independent, comparative measure of central government budget transparency.

The Index assigns countries covered by the Open Budget Survey a transparency score on a 100-point scale, using a subset of questions that assess the amount and timeliness of budget information that governments make publicly available in eight key budget documents in accordance with international good practice standards.

Each country is given a score between 0 and 100 that determines its ranking. IBP considers countries that score above 60 on the Open Budget Index as providing sufficient budget information to enable the public to engage in budget discussions in an informed manner. IBP considers countries scoring above 60 on participation and oversight as providing adequate opportunities for the public to participate in the budget process, and providing adequate oversight practices, respectively.

In terms of budget transparency, Georgia has 82 points. According to the report, Georgia provides the public with extensive budget information. In this field, IBP gave Georgia two recommendations:

  • Provide detailed data on the financial position of the government, and provide more information on extra-budgetary funds in the Executive’s Budget Proposal.
  • Provide more information on the comparisons between the original macroeconomic forecast and the actual outcome in the Year-End Report.

As for public transparency, Georgia has 22 scores out of 100. The report says that Georgia provides few opportunities for the public to engage in the budget process.

The IBP believes that in order to improve its score in this field Georgia should:

  • Pilot mechanisms for members of the public and executive branch officials to exchange views on national budget matters during both the formulation of the national budget and the monitoring of its implementation. These mechanisms could build on innovations, such as participatory budgeting and social audits.
  • Hold legislative hearings on the formulation of the annual budget, during which any member of the public or civil society organizations can testify.

Regarding budget oversight, Georgia scored 74 points, and the report says that the legislature and supreme audit institution in Georgia provide adequate oversight of the budget.

The IBP says Georgia should prioritize the following actions to make budget oversight more effective:

  • Ensure a legislative committee examines and publishes a report on the Audit Report online.
  • Ensure audit processes are reviewed by an independent agency.

 By Thea Morrison

30 January 2018 21:11