02 February 2013 5:27 pm | | 3

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Open Budget Survey 2012The latest report by the International Budget Partnership detailing the state of budget transparency and public participation in the budget process in 100 countries has given Tunisia poor marks in nearly every reported category.

Released January 23, the 2012 Open Budget Survey – and its accompanying quantified 0-100 score, known as the Open Budget Index – gave Tunisia a score of 11 out of a possible 100, leaving it in the company of Qatar, Zimbabwe, China, and Myanmar as countries releasing a scant-to-nonexistent amount of budget data for public review and discussion.

Tunisia fared poorly in a number of key transparency performance metrics, among them as having a legislature lacking adequate powers to perform a proper budget oversight role and having a weak independent audit office.

The Middle East and North Africa fared the worst of the seven regions drawn up by the study, coming in with an average score of 18 against the next lowest average score of 33 for Sub-Saharan Africa. The United States and Western Europe region scored highest with an average of 75.

The report notes that overall “the [Open Budget Index] scores are not impressive,” with the average scores among the 100 countries falling at 43 out of a possible 100. Of five possible groups, Only 6 countries scored in the top group of those surveyed, with 17, 36, 15, and 26 countries falling into the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th groupings, respectively.

The results of the Open Budget Survey and Index derive from a methodology that measures the budget transparency and civilian budget access and participation rates against a series of 95 key questions and the availability of eight key budget documents, among them the Executive’s Budget Proposal explaining the government’s specific policy plans, a Mid-Year Review of the government’s accounts, an Audit Report presented by the country’s supreme audit institution, and a Citizens Budget presenting the budget in simplified, non-technical language.

Tunisia was noted for lacking access to or even production of a Pre-Budget Statement, a Citizens Budget, and a Mid-Year Review, while only having an Executive’s Budget Proposal available only for internal government use. Tunisia also recorded a low result for public engagement with the budgeting process, only just besting Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Angola in this regard.

Though the Open Budget Index was previously published in 2006, 2008, and 2010, Tunisia did not receive a score until the 2012 report.

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Comments (3)

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  1. Jawed says:

    Tunisian government official and politicians have always maintained that they are much better than sub-Saharan African countries in terms of bureaucratic efficiency and transparency. This poor ranking shows that they are behind most African countries in terms of budget transparency. The current Tunisian government has had a golden opportunity to improve on the record of the Ben Ali regime, but it has failed miserably due to its incompetence and lack of concern for the goals of the revolution. Instead of moving the country towards more transparency and accountability, the current government focused on marginal issues such as identity and the role of religion in politics. The Tunisian revolution has brought to the surface the lowest common denominator to run the affairs of the state. By excluding the majority of its capable intellectual and technocratic élites from participating in the transition to a more transparent and democratic system of governance, the current government has pushed Tunisia backwards. It’s time for a real change in the guards to move the country in the right direction, so Tunisia can take its rightful place among the emerging democracies.

  2. Patrick Batchelder says:

    If politicians must show what they are doing, then it is very difficult for them to manipulate the power and money to their advantage. It takes a great deal of pressure and leverage on politicians for them to give up so much money and power. But, we must try no matter what country we live in.

  3. It is about time that transparency become the norm in the lives of the people and the state in that the lowest limit of income per person needed to live confortably before tax appliance bracket. Also the state budget and any bank interest paid for monies borrowed.

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