In recognition of South Africa’s commitment to a transparent budget process, the country has notched third place in the 2015 Open Budget Index (OBI) Survey.
“Over the years, South Africa has consistently entrenched its reputation as a global leader in budget transparency. This is evidenced in the expansive budget information that is published for public analysis and scrutiny, as well as in its performance in international budget surveys,” said National Treasury.
South Africa took the third spot after New Zealand and Sweden. The International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Survey is the world’s only independent, comparable measure of budget transparency, participation, and oversight. The survey 2015 examined 102 countries from around the world, measuring three aspects of how governments are managing public finances.
Past survey results have been used to identify gaps in budget transparency and informed measures and mechanisms adopted to address those gaps, said National Treasury.
The introduction of a new framework for strategic plans and a framework for annual performance plans and the enhanced commitment of the South African government to engage with civil society organisations to ensure increased participation in the budget process are among the reforms that the country implemented between 2010 and 2015.
“In 2010, South Africa obtained first place in the Open Budget Index Survey. The 2015 ranking of third out of the 102 countries that were surveyed reflected increased emphasis placed on budget participation,” said National Treasury.
In view of South Africa’s commitment to improving budget participation, the National Treasury is pursing the following measures:
- Continued support to civil society in their preparation of citizen-friendly publications about national budgets tabled in Parliament.
- A possible collaboration with civil society organizations that includes looking into creating a data portal in the near future will be looked into, to provide data in a user friendly format and create a social dialogue on budget issues.
“South Africa remains committed to constantly improving the budget process in order to maintain its international reputation as a global leader in budget transparency. South Africa continually seeks to enhance the expansive information it provides to its citizens on how public resources are generated and used with the aim of improving budget participation,” it said.
The survey provides a comprehensive review of South Africa’s budget process. Citizens are encouraged to use information published in budget documents for effective analysis and research.