Liberia Budget Transparency Flip-flops

NEWS REPORTER

IREDD Releases 5TH Open Budget Survey

IREDD Executive Director Mr. Harold Aidoo

As Liberia strives to contain the deadly COVID-19, the Institute for Research and Democratic Development (IREDD) in its quest to hold government accountable for the fair execution of budget funding has released the 5th 2019 Open Budget Survey (OBS).
The survey which was conducted prior to the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic focuses on the 2019 budget.
Releasing the survey Monday, May 4, 2020 at IREDD’s head office in Monrovia, the Executive Director of the institution, Harold Aidoo said Liberia obtained a score of 38/100 in terms of “Budget Transparency”.
The survey according to Mr. Aidoo, covers December 2018 to June 30, 2019 was implemented through the partnership of the International Budget Partnership, based in the United States.
Detailing the survey, IREDD also disclosed that Liberia scores in budget transparency has flipfloped over the years.
The survey captured Liberia’s Budget Transparency at 40% in 2010, 43%, in 2012, 38%, in 2015, 36% in 2017 and 38% in 2019 respectively.
Additionally, in the 2019 survey, Liberia obtained the scores of 6% public participation and 48 % in budget oversight.
IREDD said uncovered weak transparency  of the Executive and  poor oversight of the Legislature including a very low  citizens  participation in the budget process.
According to the Executive Director of IREDD, Mr. Harold Aidoo, the Liberian government scored 38% in transparency; 48% in budget oversight and 6% in public (citizens) participation.
The OBS was conducted by IREDD from December 31, 2018 to June 30, 2019.
The 2019 OBS  pointed out that the Liberian government failed to reach the minimum threshold for adequate budget transparency and oversight and also dismal opportunity for public participation in the budget in order for citizens to hold the government accountable.
IREDD ED further mentioned that Liberia is among countries in the bottom of the 117 surveyed countries.
With respect to the eight OBS indicators, IREDD indicated that the government failed to  make five (5) documents available ( for public consumption), they include: the pre-budget statement, citizens budget, in-year  budget, mid year review  and audit reports.
The OBS indicators stated only three were publicized, namely, the Executive Budget Proposal, Enacted Budget and the Year end report; while the oversight from the Legislature over the budget was poor.
Historically, the OBS is the World only independent, comparative and fact based research instrument what uses internationally accepted criteria  to assess public access to (central) government budget information;  formal opportunities for the public  to participate in the  national budget process; and the role of budget oversight institutions such as the Legislature  and auditor  in the budget process.
The survey is based on a questionnaire completed in a country by an independent budget expert, in Liberia, is IREDD, and to further strengthen the research, each country’s draft questionnaire is also reviewed by an anonymous independent expert, and by a representative of the Ministry of Finance and Development.

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