By barnabas Esiet.
BudgIT, a civic organization pioneering social advocacy blended with technology, has expressed concerns over Nigeria’s unsatisfactory overall score in the 2019 Open Budget Survey (OBS) report, which was launched on the 30th of April, 2020.
In a statement, BudgIT is asking the Federal Government to take decisive urgent steps to improve its budget process in line with global acceptable standards.
The Open Budget Survey is a biennial global, independent and comparative assessment which evaluates public budget accountability of the national government based on 3 key metrics – Transparency, Public participation and Institutional oversight.
The report, which was announced through a live webcast, reveals that Nigeria scored 22 out of 100 in Public participation, 55out of 100 in Budget Oversight, and 21 out of 100 in Transparency, which also represents the overall Open Budget Index score.
“We recall that in the 2017 OBS report, Nigeria had an overall Open Index Score of 17/100. While the newly released 2019 report shows a 4-point improvement, according to the survey, this does not infer that much progress has been made especially when the previously raised underlying issues are still prevalent, for example, Nigeria’s low score in transparency can be attributed to insufficient comprehensiveness of key budget documents as well as late publishing and non-public availability of these budget documents.” The statement read.
BudgIT charged the Federal Government to deepen its measures in ensuring adequate transparency and accountability in budget process, by ensuring that key budget documents are not just produced in a detailed and timely manner, but also made publicly available to the citizens.
“We also urge the Federal Government to put in place, a robust public participatory structure for citizens to engage and provide inputs throughout the budget process, and also augment the oversight function role, played by both the office of the Auditor General which is the supreme audit institution and the National Assembly in the budget process.” The statement read further.
According to BudgIT, “the survey’s international measure of open, responsive and accountable budgeting has never been more relevant as we face a global pandemic that threatens people and economies and as such, government responses require accountability and oversight now more than ever.”