Budget transparency way to go — Mthuli

Source: Budget transparency way to go — Mthuli | The Herald

Budget transparency way to go — Mthuli
Professor Mthuli Ncube

Africa Moyo and Wallace Ruzvidzo

The desire to be open and accountable to all citizens has seen Zimbabwe rocketing from 17th to third place in Africa in budget transparency rankings, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube has said.

Government now routinely engages different stakeholders before and after the presentation of the Budget to get as much contribution as possible and as soon as the Budget has been presented and adopted, it is immediately circulated online and translated into many local languages.

The Open Budget Survey (OBS) 2019, ranks Zimbabwe third in Africa with a score of 47. Out of 117 countries, Zimbabwe is ranked 51, with the same score as India.

In Africa, South Africa tops the rankings with a score of 87 while Namibia is second with a score of 51. The rise in rankings is significant considering that Zimbabwe was 17th in Africa in 2017.

And from November 24, 2017, when President Mnangagwa was inaugurated, there has been a deliberate effort to attend to all issues that hampered progress and did not involve the people.

Prof Ncube told The Herald yesterday that Zimbabwe had done “very well and moved up significantly in global Open Budget rankings of 2019 (compared to 2017), which measure the quality of national budgeting processes”.

“The reasons for Zimbabwe’s much improved performance include publishing the enacted budget, citizens budget and year-end report online, publishing the in-year reports online in a timely manner, increasing the information provided in the executive’s budget proposal and increasing the information provided in the pre-budget statement,” he said.

“This commitment to excellence in national budgeting and stewardship on public finances, showed in the attainment of a budget surplus in 2019.

“I thank all the staff in Treasury for a job well done.”

Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana said from the onset, President Mnangagwa’s administration prioritised accountability to citizens and set out to ensure that they are adequately informed and consulted in every process, hence the jump in budget transparency rankings.

“With regard to budget decisions, this has been achieved through a number of ways including pre and post-budget engagements to get input from all sectors as well as to provide same with an opportunity to interrogate and understand Government decisions and plans.

“Increased Government visibility on various platforms including social media, giving citizens a quick and easy platform to access relevant information on the Budget. To this end, the Ministry of Information and a number of other ministries, as well as the President, all have active accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Youtube,” said Mr Mangwana.

He added that publishing of the Budget statement widely in the country’s main languages, in both print and electronic media and provision of more detail in the budget proposal for example, amount of aid received, including for Covid-19, have been efforts to promote transparency.

On Sunday, Government published all the donations received so far towards Covid-19.

In the past, donations towards Cyclone Idai victims were published and an error on the size of donations from China was immediately corrected.