Malawi has improved public access to budget information significantly over the past three years, according to the International Budget Partnership’s (IBP) Open Survey of 2015.
Malawi Economic Justice Network (Mejn) executive director Dalitso Kubalasa said this in Lilongwe on Wednesday during the national launch of the 2015 Open Budget Survey (OBS) Malawi results.
He said the report, the fifth of its kind, is the world’s only independent, comparative survey of budget transparency, citizen participation and independent oversight institutions in the budgeting process and that combination of these components are the main pillars of accountable budget systems.
Kubalasa said assessing 102 countries around the world, the 2015 survey found that Malawi is among the countries that have risen the most on the Open Budget Index (OBI) which uses internationally recognised criteria to give each country a transparency score on a 100-point scale.
He said Malawi’s OBI score increased from 52 in 2012 to 65 in 2015, which means citizens have greater access to the information they need, to participate in decision-making and to hold the government accountable.
Chairperson for Budget and Finance Committee of Parliament, Rhino Chiphiko, said on the issues of transparency Mejn should do a lot of research in the country whether this whole budget process is transparent.
He said: “Because we are talking of the minister going on the road show and yet the budget books have already been printed, so transparency, participation and the oversight so that we should have a country based research on these issues, in that way it will be good because we can share the information.”