Nepal’s score improves in budget transparency index

Kathmandu, February 2

Along with the government becoming flexible towards making information available on how the government raises and spends public funds, Nepal’s ranking has improved in the global budget transparency index.

As per the Open Budget Survey (OBS) 2017 — a global report launched by International Budget Partnership (IBP) recently — Nepal scored 52 out of 100 points in budget openness and transparency, against 24 points that the country had bagged in the Open Budget Index (OBI) in 2015.

“Nepal’s score of 52 out of 100 is moderately higher than the global average, which means that there exists room for further improvement,” the report stated.

New Zealand and South Africa have been regarded as the top most nations in providing sufficient budget information to enable the public to engage in budget discussions in an informed manner. Both the countries have scored 89 out of 100.

IBP considers countries that score above 60 in the OBI as providing sufficient budget information to enable the public to engage in budget discussions in an informed manner.

The OBS 2017 has stated that many governments across the world, including Nepal, are making less information available about how they raise and spend public funds. In addition to transparency challenges, the OBS 2017 assessment of budget oversight has also found that most countries have limited or weak legislative oversight practices, though most have the basic conditions needed for auditors to perform their roles.

The OBS 2017 has suggested Nepal to adopt different immediate measures to improve budget transparency, public participation in budget and improve budget oversights.

As per the report, Nepal should produce and publish a pre-budget statement and a Citizens Budget and provide detailed data on the macroeconomic forecast as well as data on the financial position of the government to improve budget transparency.

Similarly, OBS 2017 has urged Nepal to actively engage with individuals or civil society organisations representing vulnerable and under-represented communities during the formulation and monitoring of national budget implementation to ensure public’s participation in the process. The report has also suggested Nepal to establish formal mechanisms for the public to participate in relevant audit investigations.

Likewise, OBS 2017 has recommended Nepal to ensure executives’ budget proposal is approved by legislators before start of budget year to make budget oversight more effective. Nepal has also been recommended to consider setting up an independent fiscal institution to further strengthen its budget oversight.