18 February 2013

Uganda Scores High in Accountability

Photo: Simon Masaba
Members of the anti-corruption coalition in Uganda (file photo).

Nairobi — Uganda has been ranked as the most transparent country in terms of budget openness in the East African region.

The country scored 65 per cent out of a possible 100 per cent with the rest of the regional countries among them Kenya trailing. Kenya scored 49 per cent.

A survey of 100 countries conducted by London-based NGO Budget Partners International (BPI) found out that most countries in Africa have a very low level of Budget transparency to their publics. The report said such countries have tried to keep the public away from information concerning state planning.

For instance, the 49% score for Kenya implies that the government releases less than half the information it is supposed to share on budget with taxpayers. Countries that shared between 40-60 per cent of the information were considered 'moderate' by the survey while those with between 61-80 % were considered 'substantial'.

The worst performing regional country was Rwanda which only shares eight per cent even though Burundi was not included in the survey.

Tanzania scored 47 %

According to Budget Partners International, countries are supposed to disclose all the information concerning budget whose funding comes from taxpayers and other sections of the donor community.

"Like in the case of Kenya, only the financial estimates document is shared while information like midterm and end-year reviews are never shared," said John Mutua of the Institute of Economic Affairs.

The Institute of Economic Affairs made public its plans to lobby various regional governments to make public programme based budgets in order to ensure public participation in development and economic programmes of their countries.

Before the enactment of the current constitution which calls for more openness in regards to public spending and accounting, the budget process in Kenya was largely a closed-door affair with Kenyans only learning of the estimates and figures on budget day.

However as from last year, the public was made a crucial part of the budget making process with stakeholder hearings organized in every county.

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