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Budget transparency increases accountability in government spending – ISODEC

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cediThe National 2012 Open Budget Survey results, was launched on Wednesday in Accra, by the Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC), a non-governmental organisation.

The biennial event was done in collaboration with the Institute of Local Government Studies (ILGS).

Dr Zakaria Yakubu, Programmes Director of ISODEC, said budget transparency increased accountability in government expenditure, as well as the effectiveness and quality of the expenses.

“It reduces corruption and helps governments to attract investment and also reduces borrowing,” he said.

Dr Yakubu said: “It helps us monitor expenditure, our progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals, as well as our debts and deficits.”

He urged public institutions to be cooperative and make documents available, for the drafting of the Open Budget survey results.

“If we could get the support of requisite institutions such as the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, we would have a good reflection of the information on the ground for comprehensive results.”

Dr Esther Offei Aboagye, Director of ILGS, said there is the need for accountability to ensure the progress of any nation.

The survey was organised by the International Budget Partnership, in collaboration with the ISODEC assesses whether the central government in each country surveyed, made eight key budget documents available to the public.

They were also expected to make available documents which were comprehensive, timely and useful.

The documents include Pre-Budget Statement, Executive Budget Proposal, Enacted Budget, Citizens Budget, In-Year Reports, Mid Year Review, Year End Report and Audit Report.

ISODEC has over the years, launched the report in Ghana, and sees it as key to improving transparency, in view of the fact that it touches on the quantity and type of information that governments make available to the public in the eight key budget documents that should be issued during the budget year.

Ghana’s score in the survey for 2012 was 50 out of 100, which is a little higher than the average score of 43 for all the 100 countries surveyed and the highest in West Africa.

A report by ISODEC, said Ghana’s score indicated that the government provided the public with only some information on the national government’s budget and financial activities, during the course of the budget year.

It said this made it challenging for citizens to hold the government accountable for its management of “the public’s money”.

The report however said although Ghana’s performance in the 2012 survey, declined from 54 in 2010 to 50 in 2012, Ghana still maintained the first spot in the West African Sub-Region.

The survey which started in 2006 with 40 countries, involves over 100 countries today.

Source: GNA

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