Kenya’s position in a global survey, the Open Budget Survey, has remained stagnant since 2019. The global survey is conducted every two years and looks at how countries perform on national budgets’ transparency, public participation and budget oversight.
The last global survey conducted in 2019, rated Kenya at 50/100 in budget transparency, while the recent 2021 survey, gave Kenya a similar score of 50/100. There have been no significant steps to improve the transparency of budgets. Any country that scores 61 or above, shows that the country is publishing enough material to support informed public debate on budgets. With regard to public participation and budget oversight, Kenya got a score of 31/100 and 54/100 respectively. The Open Budget Survey is the world’s only independent, comparative measure of central government budget transparency and it is done every two years by the International Budget Partnership, and locally through its partner, the Institute of Public Finance.
The survey shows where countries rank in budget transparency and openness. The study looks at government websites to assess how much budget information is available freely and accessible. It also looks at how citizens access government budget information.
Institute of Public Finance, Chief Executive Officer, James Muraguri says, “Clearly more needs to be done to improve Kenya’s ranking with regard to budgets’ transparency, public participation and budget oversight. Whilst we acknowledge a few steps were made, this was not enough to improve the rankings and we call upon the next government to take practical steps towards improving overall rankings and to demonstrate its commitment to improve transparency, public participation and budget oversight.’’
He adds, ‘‘Further, we call upon the next Parliament to improve public participation by holding budget implementation review meetings at constituency level, to improve public participation. The Public Audit report for the Financial Year 2019/20 and the Mid-Year Report should also be published online and in a timely manner. These steps will go a long way in instilling trust and confidence by the citizens in how the Kenyan government shares budgetary information.”
Dr. Abraham Rugo, the Country Manager at the International Budget Partnership Kenya, says, “The improvements in oversight are significant as it means we have much more visibility as to what the National Government is doing with public resources. This should then make it possible to address the current public concerns on public debt and COVID-19-related spending. The National Treasury will need to further strengthen public participation beyond Nairobi as well as provide more detailed non-financial reports on budget implementation.”
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