The Citizens’ Constitutional Forum (CCF) is urging Government to improve budget transparency by releasing the eight key budget documents to the public. The call comes after the release of Fiji’s 2015 score at the International Budget Partnerships (IBP) Open Budget Survey (OBS).
The IBP set out international standards which mandate the availability of these key budget documents for effective and accountable budget systems which include principles of budget transparency, citizen participation and independent oversight institutions. The eight key budget documents are; the Enacted Budget; Audit Report; In-Year Report; Pre-Budget Statement; Mid-Year Review; Executives Budget Proposal; Year-End Report and the Citizens Budget.
In the 2015 IBP OBS ranking Fiji scored 15/100 based on data collected up till June 2014. This was an improvement from Fiji’s 6/100 score in the 2012 ranking.
“Despite a change to the financial year, Government managed to conduct some public consultations on the budget by reaching out to students and disability groups. CCF welcomes this inclusive approach to public consultations by the Government and wishes to see more time and resources allocated for wider consultations,” said the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Bulutani Mataitawakilai.
The CEO stated that the budgets are an essential policy instrument of government through which they can deliver their promises to the people. He also said that although improvements have been made in the survey on budget ranking, more work needs to be done in terms of enhancing citizens’ engagement in the budget process.
“CCF congratulates the Government on the eve of the 2016-2017 National Budget address by calling on them to prioritize the rehabilitation of the country in the aftermath of TC Winston and strengthen the developmental, constitutional and human rights framework,” said Mr. Mataitawakilai.
CCF works in collaboration with the IBP on the Open Budget Survey. Since 2008, CCF has been engaged in this research, through monitoring government websites and liaising with government officials on the availability of budget documents.
For further information on the IBP and the OBS Visit: http://www.internationalbudget.org/opening-budgets/open-budget-initiative/open-budget-survey/publications-2/rankings-key-findings/rankings/