Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Kenya scores poorly in budgeting

By MWANIKI WAHOME [email protected]

Kenya has not improved in increasing public access to budget information in the last two years.

According to Open Budget Survey, a biennial report that covers 100 countries, Kenya maintained its transparency score at 49 out of the possible 100, a rating similar to that of 2010.

“It is commendable that Kenya publishes a Citizen Alternative Budget, a simplified version of national budget, which has improved its public engagement with the Legislature through public hearings on the budget.

This achievement notwithstanding, there is need to engage with citizens prior to publishing the national budget and using various tools and media to disseminate the findings,” said Institute of Economic Affairs programme officer John Mutua.

Public participation

However, the rating could drastically improve with the coming of the new budgetary framework in line with the Constitution which requires public participation in almost all stages of making the budget.

New Zealand was the top performer with a score of 93 followed by South Africa with 90. In the survey, only 23 countries scored above 60, while 21 countries did not publish executive budget proposals. The average score for all the countries was 43.

“Kenya’s score indicates that the government provides the public with some information in making the budget,” the report notes.

Mr Mutua said while the Legislature had noted improvement in opening up the budget to the public, the executive needed to improve.

In East Africa, Uganda improved from 55 to 65 score, making it among the top performers as it was able to produce all the key budget documents.