A one-day symposium was held Tuesday for the launch of the 2012 Open Budget System.
The symposium held under the theme: "Using Access to Information to Increase Fiscal Transparency & Citizens' Participation" was organized by Genuine Democratic Alternative (AGENDA).The AGENDA is a policy research and advocacy think tank working in collaboration with international and local activists to promote transparency and accountability in Liberia.
Agenda's Senior Policy Director, G. Jasper Cummeh said the open budget survey is an independent, comparative and regular assessment of budget transparency and accountability around the world.
Mr. Cummeh said the survey evaluates extent to which government provides the public with timely and comprehensive access to eight key budget documents required by international best practices.
He named them as pre-budget statement, the draft budget, citizens' budget and enacted budget.
Mr. Cummeh told the gathering that the survey measures the ability of the Legislature and audit institutions to provide effective oversight of governments' budget and opportunities for citizens to participate in the budget process.
He revealed that the 2012 survey was conducted in 100 countries around the World. In the West African Region, Liberia came second to Ghana with 43 percent while Ghana had 50 percent.
For his part, the Director of Legislative Budget Office, Prof. Julius Caesar said in order to ensure transparency, the Liberian budget must be in the public domain which is one of the fundamental rules and requirement of any budget system.
He said in order for the Legislature to understand the budget, they must have a technician to explain the budgetary system for the locals.
"Each time I hear about transparency, I wonder how the budget can be transparent, because anything that is transparent, you must be able to see through it; and when you come to look at the Liberian government budget, you get to know that it is difficult," he said.
At the same time, the Coordinator for Open Budget Initiative at the Ministry of Finance, Del- Francais Wreh said the Ministry is working with local radio stations to carry out the message of the open budget initiative in all of the tribes in Liberia.