BudgIT commends the Federal Government’s performance and huge improvement in the recently released 2021 Open budget survey (OBS) by the International Budget Partnership (IBP). According to the survey which was conducted in 120 countries; Nigeria, Benin Republic and The Gambia made the league of the biggest improvers in the Open Budget Index, specifically on transparency, public participation and institutional oversight. To iterate, the OBS is done bi-annually, and it is a global independent, comparative and regular assessment of transparency, institutional oversight and public participation in public budgets in 120 countries.
Recall that Nigeria’s performance in the 2019 Open Budget Survey was below expectation, with a total score of 21/100 in transparency, 22/100 in public participation and 55/100 in institutional oversight. However, the 2021 OBS reveals that Nigeria has made some progress based on the 3 metrics used. According to the report, Nigeria scored 26/100 in public participation, 61/100 in Oversight and 45/100 in transparency. The overall open budget index score stood at 45/100. “This depicts an all-round improvement in the 3 metrics although some are more significant than others”. Said Gabriel Okeowo, BudgIT’s Country Director.
Nigeria’s 2021 OBS performance can be attributed to its improved timeliness in publishing budget documents, improvements in inclusions in the budget processes, enhanced comprehensive documentation made available to the public and better institutional oversight roles in the budget process during the pandemic year, enhanced by the reviewed 2020 budget as a result of the pandemic and fluctuations in oil prices.
“We are heartened to see the progress that Nigeria and other countries have made in the survey,” said Austin Ndiokwelu, Nigeria’s Country manager for IBP. “Inclusion pays dividends. We urge governments to sustain progress and engage communities more meaningfully around revenue and spending priorities. Community feedback can help governments better manage vital public resources.” he added.
“We are delighted to see the commendable improvements made by Nigeria in the 2021 Open Budget Survey”, Okeowo added. “There is still a need for better transparency, enhanced mechanisms for public participation and engagements in the budget process, oversight functions performed by the Supreme Audit Institution and the Legislature, and improved timeliness in publishing detailed budget documents, especially Audit Reports”.
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