By Tony Obiechina, Abuja
The Director General, Budget Office of the Federation, Mr Ben Akabueze on Tuesday disclosed that Nigeria performed its best in the open budget survey conducted amongst 120 countries.
According to him, the country improved by 24 points for transparency in the latest Open Budget Survey.
Director General made the disclosure at the official launch of Open Budget Survey 2021 Report organized by the Budget Office of the Federation (BOF) and the International Budget Partnership (IBP) in Abuja.
Akabueze said, “the total transparency score of 45 over 100 in the 2021 survey, is a significant leap from the 21 over 100 scored in the 2019 survey”, adding that the performance “is the second highest improvement worldwide”.
He explained that Nigeria made this leap in budget transparency because it has implemented the Strategic Revenue Growth Initiative SRGI 1.0 and SRGI 2,0 which are still ongoing; included the Budgets of 63 Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs), which have “better improved our comprehensiveness as well as transparency position in terms of reporting for GOEs”.
Other factors that contributed to Nigeria improving on its budget transparency, he said, included timely submission of the MTEF/FSP and annual budgets including early approval by the National Assembly (NASS); better collaboration with key stakeholders like the Executive and the Legislature that have witnessed improved coordination and collaboration which has improved timeliness.
Improved engagement with citizens also led to improved levels of engagements, leveraging technology to reach more Nigerians via virtual platforms and the full disclosure of Federal Government of Nigeria’s (FGN’s) payments – available to state and non-state actors leading to improved transparency, governance, service delivery and accountability through the implementation of Open Treasury Portal.
In her submission, Sally Torbert of International Budget Partnership (IBP) stated that “at the federal level since 2010, there was not much progress made on the Open Budget Survey (OBS) indicators for transparency until this round of OBS 2021 when the score for Nigeria jumps from 21 to 45”.
According to her, the big leap that is being seen by OBS Transparency in Nigeria, “is mainly driven by government’s successful efforts to improve tiny availability of three key budget documents. So here you can see the pre-budget statement, the in-year reports and the mid year review have changed between 2019 and 2021”.
She further stated that BP has sounded a global call to action to urge governments to publicly commit to a number of goals that are common across all countries.
“These includes establishing meaningful inclusive opportunities for public engagement, including oversight especially during budget execution, where we’ve seen many governments deviate from their plans during budget implementation, disclosing more and better information on plans and executed budgets, especially around the debt and fiscal risks, and institutionalized accountability requirements as permanent features of the budget system”.
The IBP she said is “excited to hear about plans such as the reform of the organic budget here in Nigeria”.
“Around the world, governments are making