Sri Lanka, 54th out of 117 on Budget Transparency | Daily News


Sri Lanka, 54th out of 117 on Budget Transparency

Sri Lanka has been ranked 54th out of 117 countries on the Open Budget Survey (OBS).

OBS is a global metric measuring the reporting on the use of public funds. The survey was carried out by the International Budget Partnership. Verite Research compiled the figures relevant to Sri Lanka. The survey is conducted every two years.

In 2019 Sri Lanka failed on its Mid-Year Fiscal Position Report of the Ministry of Finance to meet international standards. The National Audit Office was deemed to have provided adequate levels of oversight.

Parliamentary oversight of the budget for the year 2019 was deemed weak and given a score of 36 out of 100.

The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument that uses internationally accepted criteria to assess public access to central government budget information; formal opportunities for the public to participate in the national budget process and the role of budget oversight institutions such as the legislature and auditor in the budget process.

Verite stated, “Our past research has shown that although large proposals are introduced in the budget speech, implementation falls short of what is promised. In addition to the measures mentioned above, effective implementation also requires well-formulated budget proposals that are feasible to implement. Hence, all revenue and expenditure proposals in the budget must be backed by 1) detailed estimates and calculations, 2) feasibility studies, 3) sensitivity and scenario analysis and 4) risk mitigation strategies, to strengthen its implementation.”

Economic Analyst Lahiri Jayasinghe called on the government to implement systems wherein communities representing relevant stakeholders in specific budget proposals can provide feedback on its implementation. Jayasinghe noted that given the COVID crisis the government had to act quickly in the disbursement of funds. Jayasinghe stated that there may not have been time for adequate reporting given the circumstances and limitations on human resources. The report finds that; Sri Lanka can improve its score in subsequent years by preparing reports giving a breakdown of individual revenue sources. Reports can also give actual expenditure versus estimated expenditure and in comparison, to the previous year.

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