Vietnam ranks 68 out of 120 in budget transparency
The announcement of Vietnam’s Open Budget Index (OBI) in 2021 was held this morning in Hanoi by the Center for Development and Integration (CDI). Vietnam’s open budget index in 2021 increased nine places compared to 2019, ranked 68th out of 120 countries and territories.
The OBS 2021 survey is the 8th survey with 120 participating countries, an increase of 3 countries compared to OBS 2019. Of the 117 countries participating in the survey in both 2019 and 2021, the global grade point average (GPA) for transparency increased by 1 point, the global GPA for surveillance decreased by 1 point, and the global GPA for participation remained unchanged.
The results of the OBS 2021 survey recognized Vietnam’s positive changes in the budget process: Vietnam’s ranking score in the OBS 2021 survey in all three pillars of transparency, public participation, and budgets monitor increased by 6 points compared to OBS 2019.
Vietnam’s open budget index (OBI) in 2021 reached 44/100 points, close to the world average ranking of 45/100 points, an increase of 6 points compared to OBI 2019, ranking 68th out of 120 countries participated in the OBS 2021 survey, rose 9 places compared to OBI 2019. Among countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam’s OBI 2021 ranking score is higher than Cambodia and Myanmar.
Vietnam has made public 7 out of 8 core budget documents that need to be disclosed as required by the OBS survey. The mid-term budget report was the only document that has not been made public. The Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance has publicized the report about implementation of the 6-month state budget estimate. However, the content of the report did not meet the requirements of international good practice principles to be considered as a mid-term budget report.
Vietnam’s budget documents in the OBS 2021 survey have been more fully disclosed than in the 2019 OBS survey. Scores on the adequacy of budget documents have increased compared to 2019.
The Citizens Budget Report and the Annual Budget Report were the two documents that have improved the most in terms of publicity compared to 2019 with an increase of 17 and 12 points, respectively.
The public participation rating score is 17/100, an increase of 6 points compared to the 2019 OBS survey. This shows that there were still limits in the availability of public budget information in Vietnam and public participation in the budget-making process. Compared with other countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam’s ranking for participation in the OBS 2021 survey is higher than Thailand, East Timor, Cambodia, and Myanmar.
The ranking score for budget supervision was 80/100, of which the National Assembly’s supervision was 75/100 and the State Audit’s was 89/100. The global average for budget monitoring was 52/100.
Commenting on Vietnam’s OBI 2021, Ms. Ngo Minh Huong, CDI Director, said: “Transparency of the state budget is a measure to improve the efficiency of the Government’s budget management. Important budget documents have been made more widely available and more complete over the past two OBS reviews. However, publicity alone is not enough, there needs to be a regular and official mechanism for citizens to participate in the budget process. Thus, the budget consultation conducted by the Government and the National Assembly is necessary as a form of participation in the budget-making process. In addition, the National Assembly can also make an explanation of the budget with the National Assembly’s representatives, directly and indirectly feedbacks and contributions with the participation of individuals and organizations. Many issues are of concern to the citizens and are very important for them to understand and contribute ideas to the Government, including budget revenue and expenditure, tax policy, overspending, public debt, policies and spending on social, environmental issues, budgetary, and quality assurance on healthcare and education, etc.”
Ms. Suad Hasan, representative of IBP, said: “The pandemic has not undermined the achievements of transparent and accountable budgeting practices around the world. Most countries can maintain, and in some cases may even inherit, previous results in their annual budget process. Although the survey does not explain why country practices are improving or shrinking, we believe that the resilience and stability of budget disclosure can be achieved based on two factors: increasing digitalization of information and institutionalizing accountability practices.”
Since participating in the OBS survey in 2010, the Government and the Ministry of Finance of Vietnam have made great efforts to fulfill their commitments on disclosing information on the management and use of public resources so that the public can participate in discussions on the budget with reforms in the law and budget administration institutions towards more transparency.
Vietnam’s Open Budget Index (OBI) tends to increase throughout each assessment period. In order to enhance budget transparency in the coming time, the National Assembly, the Government, the Ministry of Finance, the State Audit, and other ministries and central agencies should continue to maintain current good practices, and have a clear roadmap for achieving real and sustainable improvements.
See details of the report HERE.