Uganda Tops East Africa in Budget Openness – Survey (allAfrica.com)

KENYA trails Uganda in providing sufficient budget information to enable the public understand and influence the usage of taxes, the open budget survey 2015 launched yesterday shows.

Kenya scored 48 points on a 100 point scale, while Uganda scored 62 points. It however performed better than Tanzania and Rwanda which scored 46 and 36 points, respectively.

The survey places the benchmark score for countries found to be providing the public with sufficient budget information at 60 points, giving Kenya a below par score.

The survey indicates the budget oversight by the Kenyan parliament was limited at 49 points while oversight by the auditor general was adequate with a score of 67 points.

“Uganda provides the public with substantial budget information while Kenya is weak in providing the public with opportunities to engage in the budget process,” it states.

Kenya also failed to make progress in increasing the comprehensiveness of the executive budget proposal and publishing more information in the enacted budget.

“Kenya is still weak in providing the public with opportunities to engage in the budget process, thus raising concerns about the lack of progress on improving transparency. It is also worth noting that budget oversight by the national assembly is still limited,” the Institute of Economic Affairs research analyst John Mutua said at the launch in Nairobi.

The survey shows 98 of the102 countries surveyed lack adequate systems for ensuring that public funds are used efficiently and effectively.

It shows countries like China, Algeria, Cambodia, Bolivia, Guinea, Iraq, Fiji, Myanmar, Qatar and Saudi Arabia scored extremely poorly in allowing public participation in their national budgets.

Only the United States, South Africa, Brazil and Norway have sufficient budget transparency and opportunities for public participation and adequate formal oversight institutions.

The International Budget Partnership that coordinates the survey globally said Kenya can improve budget transparency by increasing the comprehensiveness of the executive’s budget proposal by presenting the classification of expenditures for prior years and more details on state corporation assets.

Other recommendations include publishing a mid-year review and increasing the comprehensiveness of the year-end report by presenting more details on planned versus actual expenditures and performance.

“The public needs access to budget information and opportunities to participate throughout the budget process. Coupled with oversight by legislatures and audit institutions this contributes to a more accountable use of public money,” the International Budget Partnership country manager Jason Lakin said.