Post-Soviet countries reached higher levels of budget transparency

The Open Budget Survey 2017, an independent, comparative measure of central government budget transparency, was released on January 30. The states were given a score out of 100 for each category that measured how governments managed public finances.

According to the survey, Georgia gained a score of 82/100 and was ranked 5th out of 115 countries. This year’s results revealed a significant improvement in terms of transparency, public participation and budget oversight. “We will be able to attract more investments, accelerate the economic growth of Georgia, and create more jobs. I would like to thank the Ministry of Finance of Georgia, all public agencies and the NGOs involved in this process, and congratulate them on this very great success,”- Mamuka Bakhtadze, Minister of Finance of Georgia stated. In turn, the survey says: “Georgia’s progress on transparency has been driven by capable civil servants within the Ministry of Finance, many of whom joined after the political change in 2004 and remain committed to modernizing government. These officials have overcome internal obstacles to reforming their PFM systems, such as potential tensions with line ministries on budgeting practices and procedures, by engaging in frequent assessment and learning processes”.

Moldova was ranked 33th with 58 points out of 100. It’s the first time the country is officially included in the Open Budget Survey, being assessed according to the 109 indicators for 2016. Moldova is placed after countries with more developed economies like the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and ahead of Hungary, Spain, Ukraine. “Let us not forget that the assessments were made according to the 2016 indicators, which followed a crisis, therefore we entered the financial year without approved budget. In 2017, we made significant efforts to improve the situation, to approve legislation in term,”- Octavian Armasu, Minister of Finance of Moldova stressed. Marco Gemmer, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation Operations section emphasized on improving public participation in the budget processes, as well as improving budgetary information and supervision.

According to Dumitru Budeanschi, Programme Director of the Independent Think-Tank “Expert-Group”, the position of Moldova in ranking can be assessed as “pretty good”. “We are quite optimistic about what will happen in the coming years”, – he said. “In terms of medium term expenditure framework and annual budget execution report, Moldova has good grades, a score of over 80 points, which would place us in the top of the countries”- an expert added.

The Open Budget Survey 2017 measures whether governments in 115 countries produce and make publicly available online and in a timely manner eight key budget documents recommended by international good practices. It also examines formal oversight institutions and opportunities for public participation in national budget decision making.