Business in Ghana

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Ghana’s Open Budget Score Improves from 42 – 54….. says International Budget Partnership

Posted by Business in Ghana on October 24, 2010

The scores for 92 questions from the Open Budget Survey are used to compile objective scores and rankings of the relative transparency of each country’s budget process. These scores constitute the Open Budget Index (OBI). Ghana’s OBI 2010 score of 54 is higher than the score of any other country surveyed in West Africa and is higher than the worldwide average of 42. Ghana’s score increased from 42 to 54 from 2006 to 2010 largely because the government now publishes a Mid-Year Review, a Year-End Report, and an Audit Report. Ghana’s score, however, shows that the government still provides the public with only some information on the central government’s budget and financial activities during the course of the budget year. This makes it challenging for citizens to hold the government accountable for its management of the public’s money.

Public Participation and Institutions of Accountability

Beyond improving the availability and comprehensiveness of key budget documents, there are other ways in which Ghana_s budget process could be made more open. These include ensuring the existence of a strong legislature and Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) that provide effective budget oversight, as well as providing greater opportunities for the public to participate in the budget process.

According to the Open Budget Survey, budget oversight provided by Ghana’s legislature is inadequate because it does not:

1. Have sufficient time to discuss and amend the budget proposal presented to it at the start of the year before the budget is enacted (the legislature receives the budget less than six weeks before the start of the budget year); and

2. Hold public hearings to discuss the macroeconomic and fiscal framework. (It does hold open budget discussions on the individual budgets of central government administrative units, but reports on such hearings are not released.)

According to the Open Budget Survey, budget oversight provided by Ghana’s SAI is inadequate because:

It does not have sufficient resources to meaningfully exercise its mandate; and

It does not issue reports on the follow-up steps taken by the executive to address audit recommendations.

Recommendations

Ghana should:

Improve the comprehensiveness of the Year-End Report and the Executive’s Budget ” Proposal;

Publish timely and regular In-Year Reports;”

Publish a Citizens Budget; ”

Produce and publish a Pre-Budget Statement; ”

Provide opportunities for the public to testify at legislative hearings on the budget for the ” individual administrative units; and

Enable the legislature and SAI to provide more effective oversight of the budget.

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