Survey Shows Fiji Budget Transparency Still Poor

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Country improves slightly from 6 to 15 out of 100 on scale

By Atasa Moceituba

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, Sept. 11, 2015) – Fiji is among countries that have been ranked as the world's worst on budget transparency.

This was revealed by the International Budget Partnerships Open Budget Survey conducted last year.

The survey revealed that Fiji's score in relation to budget transparency had slightly improved from six out of 100 in 2012 to 15 out of 100 in the 2015 ranking.

Countries are ranked from 1-100 with a cut-off mark of 45 — those between 1 and 45 being at the lower end of the transparency scale while those between 46 and 100 were at the top end with New Zealand being the most transparent.

"Although the Fiji Government has increased the amount of budget information available to the public, the survey further reveals that Fiji still ranks among the world's worst on budget transparency," the survey said.

However, Citizen's Constitutional Forum CEO Bulutani Mataitawakilai said it was very encouraging to see that Fiji's budget transparency ranking had improved.

He said the improvement indicated the country was heading in the right direction.

"There is much work that still needs to be done to enable citizens to understand and influence the use of public money," Mr Mataitawakilai said.

Fiji's score is lower than the global average score of 25 and is ranked 10th in the Asia-Pacific Regional Comparison after Malaysia and Papua New Guinea.

Mr Mataitawakilai said Government could improve this through continuing public engagements in budgeting, feedback on public submissions that had been received and how they were being implemented.

In order to achieve independent budget oversight, he said, the Government should ensure that the Budget Estimates were adequately and properly debated in Parliament.

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