Uganda tops East Africa in budget transparency   

Sufficient data. The survey says citizens must have sufficient data on the budget to encourage accountability. PHOTO / FILE 

Uganda has the most transparent budget process in East Africa, which provides citizens an opportunity for “greater accountability”, according to the 2023 Open Budget Survey. 
The survey, which assessed national budgets of 125 countries ranks Uganda ahead of other East African member states, and 44th globally. 

Uganda is also part of the seven African countries including South Africa, Benin, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Namibia, that are ranked among the top 50 countries with the most transparent budgets globally.   
Georgia, which has a score of 87 out of a possible 100 leads the global ranking, while South Africa at 83 leads Africa, followed by Benin and Zimbabwe at 79 and 63, respectively.

In East Africa, Uganda leads with a score of 59, followed by Kenya at position 48th and a score of 55. 
Rwanda follows with a score of 50, while both Tanzania and DR Congo both scored 41. 
Somalia (37), Burundi (14), and South Sudan 13, complete the region. 

However, all the surveyed national budgets in East Africa scored below the 61 or above mark, which deems a budget to have sufficient information that can easily be reviewed and understood by citizens.  
The 59 score for Uganda falls within the 41-60 band, which the survey says only provides limited information for debate thus creating the possibility of “budgeted corruption”.
The survey also assessed public participation and oversight, in which Uganda returned mixed scores. 

For instance, in terms of budget oversight, Uganda scored 65 and was only beaten by South Africa on the African continent, which scored 76. 

The 65 score falls within the 61-100 band, which rates oversight as “adequate”.  However, Uganda posted a weak performance in terms of public participation, returning a score of 15, which is within the 0-40 band that the survey categorises as “weak”.  
At a global level, the survey indicates that South Korea scores better than any country when it comes to public participation, while Norway rates better than any country in terms of oversight. 

The survey assessed online availability , timeliness, and comprehensiveness of national budget documents.

Mr Moses Kaggwa, the Ministry of Finance director of economic affairs, said at the weekend that government has always ensured that the budget is accessible to all citizens, noting that right from planning to implementation, the private sector, academia and civil society are involved. 

“All budget debates, back-and-forth changes, and discussions have been made transparent,” he said, noting that during budget reading and post-budget discussions, everyone is encouraged to participate.