PNG did okay on budget info

National, Normal

PAPUA New Guinea has scored an average 57 out of 100, in providing budget information and financial activities to its citizens.
The open budget index (OBI) 2010 surveyed 94 countries and found that 40 countries released no meaningful budget information.
However, PNG fared better compared it its neighbours China (13/100), Fiji (0), South Korea (71), Indonesia (51) and Malaysia (39).
This is the third survey which PNG had been involved in, scoring 52 in 2006, 61 in 2008 and 57 this year.
The OBI 2010, released by the Institute of National Affairs yesterday, stated that the survey is a bi-annual report covering 84 countries assessing the openness of the budget process, including budget preparation, reporting and oversight.
INA director Paul Barker said the findings were based upon well over 100 questions examined by researchers, peer group reviewers, and comparison and ranking of difference countries around the world.
“The absence of full information makes it challenging for citizens to hold the government accountable for its management of public money.” Barker said.
He said PNG fared well in the information on public budget documentation or adequacy and availability of eight key budget documents including pre-budget statement, executive budget proposal, enacted budget, mid-year review and year-end review.
However there is no publication of citizen’s budget, audit report and in-year reports on how public funds are being used.
The survey found that for public participation and institutions of accountability, it stated that PNG could improve with the availability and comprehensiveness of key budget documents to be more open.
“These include ensuring the existence of a strong legislature and a supreme audit institution (SAI) that provides effective budget oversight, as well as providing greater opportunities for public engagement in the budget process.”
Recommendations for PNG included publishing the enacted budget; begin to produce and publish a citizen’s budget; provide opportunities for the public to hold the government accountable; increasing resource for audit institutions; and improve timeliness and comprehensiveness of the in-year reviews on budget performance.