ASTANA – Kazakhstan received 53 points in 2017, compared to 51 the previous year, in the Open Budget Index (OBI) ranking. The rating uses a 100-point scale to measure central government budget transparency.
The assessment was conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP). Scores are assigned to 115 countries based on 109 indicators that assess public access to information in eight main budget documents.
Kazakhstan’s score was the result of limited budget data provided for public inspection, according to the ranking. Extensive information was available in New Zealand (89 points), South Africa (89 points) and Sweden (87 points), while Equatorial Guinea, Lesotho, Niger, Qatar, Venezuela and Yemen, each with a score of zero, provided little or no information.
The index also offers a comparative budget assessment according the three main factors –transparency, public participation and oversight.
IBP assigned Kazakhstan’s transparency score due to limited budget data provisions. The country has seen significant advances, however, as the score climbed from 35 in 2008. Kazakhstan also scored more than the global average of 42 and surpassed neighbouring Azerbaijan, Mongolia and Tajikistan.
The key comments note the citizens budget was not published last year and the socio-economic development forecast was not published on time. The in-year and year-end reports received excellent evaluation (89 and 64 points, respectively), compared with low marks (37 points) for the mid-year review.
The public participation score of 13 was higher than the global average of 12. The figure indicates few opportunities are provided for the public to be involved in the budget process.
By contrast, Kazakhstan received 63 points for budget oversight, implying the legislative system and supreme audit institution provide adequate budget control during the planning and implementing stages.
The Ministry of Finance addressed the OBI rankings at a Jan. 31 press conference.
“Extensive work is done by the Ministry of Finance to increase budget transparency. The in-year and annual budgets received higher scores in 2017. The rules for citizens budget formulation and presentation at the stages of budget planning and execution were approved on Jan. 8 by the minister’s order,” said budget legislation department head Zaifun Yernazarova.
The IBP conducted its sixth OBI ranking in an effort to promote public access to budget data and adopt accountable budget systems.