The 2017 Open Budget Survey has been released. The 2017 survey evaluated 115 countries across six continents, adding 13 new countries to the survey since the last round in 2015.
According to the survey, many governments around the world are making less information available about how they raise and spend public money. After 10 years of steady progress by countries, the 2017 survey shows a modest decline in average global budget transparency scores, from 45 in 2015 to 43 in 2017 for the 102 countries that were surveyed in both rounds (scores are out of a possible 100). This is in stark contrast to the average increase of roughly two points documented among comparable countries in each round of the survey between 2008 and 2015.
The reversal of transparency gains is particularly discouraging given roughly three-quarters of the countries assessed do not publish sufficient budget information (a score of 61 or higher), seriously undermining the ability of citizens worldwide to hold their government accountable for using public funds efficiently and effectively.
The Open Budget Survey assesses budget transparency based on the amount and timeliness of budget information governments are making publicly available. Each country is given a score between 0 and 100 that determines its ranking on the Open Budget Index.
- Nigeria has been ranked 90th in the world and 23rd in Africa.
- Only 32 countries’ legislatures (28 percent) have adequate oversight practices.
- Declines in budget transparency were most dramatic in Sub-Saharan Africa, where the average budget transparency scores fell by 11 points between 2015 and 2017.
- A number of countries have experienced significant gains in transparency since they were first included in the survey, including Georgia, Jordan, Mexico and Senegal.
- South Africa and New Zealand are ranked first globally.
- Not a single country out of the 115 surveyed offered participation opportunities that are considered adequate (a score of 61 or higher). The average global score is just 12 out of 100, with 111 countries having weak scores (lower than 41).