109 indicators used to measure budget

The open budget survey launched yesterday used 109 equally weighted indicators to measure budget transparency, public participation and budget oversight.

Speaking during the launch of the survey on Wednesday, Institute of National Affairs director, Paul Barker, said these indicators assess whether the central government makes eight key budget documents available to the public online in a timely manner and whether these documents present budget information in a comprehensive and useful way.

According to the survey, Papua New Guinea’s 50 out of 100 is moderately higher than the global average score of 42.

This means each country receives a composite score (out of 100) that determines its ranking on the Open Budget Index.

Barker also states that transparency alone is insufficient for improving governance.

“Public participation in budgeting is vital to realise the positive outcomes associated with greater budget transparency,” stated Barker.

“To measure public participation, the open budget survey assesses the degree to which the government provides opportunities for the public to engage in the budget process.”

He said such opportunities should be provided throughout the budget cycle by the executive, the legislature and the supreme audit institutions.

He adds the survey also examines the role that legislature, supreme audit institutions and independent fiscal institutions play in the budget process and the extent to which they are able to provide effective oversight of the budget.

For Papua New Guinea to improve transparency, it should prioritise the following actions of publishing a pre-budget statement online in a timely manner, produce and publish in-year reports, an audit report and a citizens’ budget.

Furthermore, they should increase the information provided in the year-end report by including comparisons between original macroeconomics forecasts and actual outcomes.

Annette Kora