Việt Nam is ranked under the global average in the open budget index, especially in terms of public participation.
That’s according to the report of Open Budget Survey composed and published by International Budget Partnership (IBP) on Thursday.
Việt Nam’s budget transparency (Open Budget Index – OBI) scored 15 out of 100 in terms of transparency, dropping three points compared to the previous survey in 2015. Globally the average score is 42.
In comparison to other countries in ASEAN, Việt Nam is only ranked higher than Myanmar.
According to the report, Việt Nam provides few opportunities for the public to engage in the budget process and the publication of budget information and documents is not timely or later than the international good practice. Moreover, Việt Nam does not publish the executive’s budget proposal as well as lately publish the audit report and the citizens budget.
According to IBP, the international good practice on public financial management recommends that government produce eight key budget documents throughout the budget process including the Pre-Budget Statement, the Executive’s Budget Proposal, the Enacted Budget, the Citizens Budget, the In-Year Reports, the Mid-Year Review, the Year-End Report, and the Audit Report.
In terms of the public participation, Việt Nam scored seven out of 100 while the global average is 12. To be ranked low at this component means legislative, executive and audit agencies of the country do not create enough adequate opportunities and mechanisms for citizens to engage in the budget process.
Việt Nam gains 72 points in the budget oversight which means the legislature equips people with the adequate oversight during the budget cycle in both planning and implementation stages.
The report shows that Việt Nam publishes five essential budget documents including the citizens budget and the audit report. On the other hand, IBP recommends the country to publish the executive’s budget proposal, audit report and citizen budget online as well as produce and publish a mid-year review.
Joel Friedman, senior fellow at IBP, said the lack of transparency poses challenges to the implementation of international commitments such as United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, simultaneously create negative impacts on the national reputation in international financial investment and people’s lives.
“Việt Nam is expected to gain 60 points of budget transparency after enforcing the 2015 Law of State Budget. The country can improve its budget process when direct mechanisms of dialogue and discussion on the State budget to people are operated,” he said.
Ngô Minh Hương from Centre for Development and Integration, OBI’s partner, told Voice of Vietnam the country’s State agencies, National Assembly and audit institutions paid more attention to the international good practice in budget transparency to adopt suitable fiscal laws, mechanisms and policies.
According to Hương, the 2015 Law of State Budget has several provisions aiming to accelerate the budget transparency.
“Besides the publication of budget documents, Việt Nam needs to improve the quality of budget information and create favorable conditions for public participation in the budget process to achieve high ranks like the Philippines and Indonesia,” she said.