40 countries are able to hide corrupt spending from the public
Forty of the 94 countries in which access to government budget information was carefully evaluated by the "International Budget Partnership’s (IBP)" "_Open Budget Survey 2010_" were found to provide such minimal information to the public that the country’s governments are able to hide unpopular, wasteful, and corrupt spending.
Strong correlation to oil and gas revenues
The Survey data also reveal a strong correlation between a country’s lack of budget transparency and accountability and whether it relies heavily on oil and gas revenue, receives significant amounts of foreign aid, or has an authoritarian government. Countries dependent on hydrocarbon extraction tend to be less transparent_ (page 32).
Positive trend on improvement
The 2010 Survey also identified a positive trend — in the 40 countries that have been measured over three consecutive Open Budget Surveys, there has been a nearly 20 percent improvement in the average performance. More important, this overall improvement is driven by substantial improvements in the budget transparency in a number of low-income countries over the past two to four years, in some cases supported by donor influence and assistance.
Donors must do their part
The 2010 Survey also reveals that governments can improve transparency and accountability quickly and easily by publishing online all of the budget information they already produce and by inviting public participation in the budget process. It calls on them to do so, and on donors to create better incentives to encourage improvements in budget transparency in the countries they support, including providing more on-budget support and technical assistance both to the executive and to oversight institutions and actors (legislatures, audit institutions, civil society, media, etc.).
The IBP’s just published Open Budget Survey 2010 is a comprehensive analysis and survey that evaluates whether central governments in 94 countries give the public access to budget information and opportunities to participate in the budget process. The Survey also examines the ability of legislatures and auditors to hold the government accountable.
Independent and regular survey
The Open Budget Survey is the only independent, comparative, and regular measure of budget transparency and accountability around the world. It is implemented by independent budget experts in each country and rigorously vetted. The 2010 Survey is the third round of the Survey; the first implementation of the Survey in 2006 covered 59 countries, and in 2008 the Survey evaluated 85 countries.
The IBP collaborates with civil society organizations in developing countries to analyze, monitor, and influence government budget processes, institutions, and outcomes. The aim of the IBP is to make budget systems more responsive to the needs of poor and low-income people in society and, accordingly, to make these systems more transparent and accountable to the public. Links: "The International Budget Partnership" "The Open Budget Index"