A Sharp Decline in Egypt’s Ranking in the “Open Budget Index 2012" - Egypt’s score dropped to 13 in the index in 2012 compared to 49 in 2010
The International Budget Partnership (IBP) has recently released the results of the Open Budget Survey (OBS) 2012, providing a comprehensive analysis of the state of budget transparency and accountability in countries around the world. The survey for Egypt, which was conducted by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) in partnership with IBP, revealed that the Open Budget Index (OBI) 2012 score for Egypt is 13 out of 100, which is a steep decline from its previous score of 49 on the OBI 2010, and indicating a very poor commitment to making the budget process transparent and budget information publicly available.
Egypt’s score was also shown to be below that of neighboring countries, Jordan, Morocco, and Lebanon, and well below the global average score of 43 for all the 100 countries included in the survey. The survey also revealed Egypt’s weak commitment to providing opportunities for public engagement in the budget decision-making process, as well as lack of effective budget oversight by the legislature and supreme audit institutions.
Produced every two years since 2006, the OBS is the only cross-country, comparative and systematic measure conducted by independent civil society researchers in each country to evaluate whether the central government in countries surveyed around the world provide the public with access to budget information. The survey also measures whether the government provides opportunities for public participation in the budget process and effective oversight of government budgets by legislatures and audit institutions. The OBI, assigns a score to each country based on the information it makes available to the public throughout the budget process, which makes it possible to compare the overall commitment among countries and monitor improvements within a country based on consecutive biennial surveys.
The draft results of the survey were sent by IBP and EIPR to the Egyptian government for commentary before they were published. Egypt’s score as revealed in the study indicates that the government provides the public with very little information on the national government’s budget allocation and spending activities during the course of the budget year, making it challenging for citizens to engage with the government in the decision-making process and to hold it accountable for its management of public funds.
In addition to measuring the OBI, the “OBS 2012” found Egypt’s performance to be average with regards to the strength of oversight provided by legislators and the Supreme Audit Institution and their effectiveness in planning and overseeing the implementation of the national budget. The Survey also examined opportunities for public participation in the budget decision-making process throughout the budget cycle. The results showed that the successive governments since the revolution failed to provide any real opportunities for citizens and civil society to participate and engage in any of the budget planning and implementing phases.
In addition to being seen as a steep decline from the results for Egypt in the “OBS 2010”, the "Open Budget Survey 2012" results for Egypt, is also seen as a regression from the relative improvement in the policies of the Ministry of Finance witnessed in the years preceding the Egyptian revolution, where budget documents were made publically available since the fiscal year 2006 \ 2007 including monthly financial reports.
While the survey acknowledges the unusual circumstances surrounding the budget process in the fiscal year 2012/2013, there are a number of measures that the Egyptian government is recommended to undertake to improve its score and confirm its commitment to the principles of transparency and participation:
- Publish the “Executive Budget Proposal” and the “Audit Report”, two of the key budget documents that are currently produced for internal use only
- Provide more comprehensive information in the “In-Year” and “Year-End” reports (these two reports, in addition to the “Enacted Budget”, are the only three reports made publicly available by the Egyptian government out of the eight key budget documents)
- Produce additional documents on the budget process, namely the “Pre-Budget Statement”, the “Mid-Year Review”, and the “Citizens Budget”, a document which simplifies the budget process to citizens to enable effective participation in the budget decision making process
- Expand opportunities for public engagement and participation in the planning, implementation and oversight of the national budget starting with the upcoming budget cycle 2013 \ 2014
- Provide enough time to consult with the legislature and civil society as part of the budget process, and take measures to strengthen the role of legislatures and Supreme Audit Institution in the budget process
For the Open Budget Survey Egypt Country Summary: http://internationalbudget.org/wp-content/uploads/OBI2012-EgyptCS-Englis...
For the full Open Budget Survey 2012 global report: http://internationalbudget.org/wp-content/uploads/OBI2012-Report-English...