SEND-GHANA Interacts With Journalists On Open Budget Tracker Survey And Post 2015 Development Agenda

A survey conducted by SEND-GHANA on the post 2015 Agenda indicate that data revolution is the best way citizens can use in tracking government spending, aid and results.

This, SEND Ghana said could help in promoting budget transparency and access to information on spending targeted to development goals including an indicator in the post 2015 framework.

The Country Director at SEND-GHANA, George Osei-Bempeh, made this known at a media dialogue organized by SEND-GHANA on the Open Budget Tracker Survey and Post 2015 Development Agenda and sponsored by International Budget Partnership (IBP).

He explained that allowing citizens, civil society, media, and others to monitor in real time whether central governments are releasing the requisite information on how the government is managing public finance was an important way of making the budget process more transparent and acceptable.

He said using data collected by independent civil society budget experts in the countries covered, the OBS Tracker monitors and reports on whether central governments of 30 countries are publishing, on time, the eight key budget documents required by international standards on budget transparency.

“Citizens can also monitor and measure the financial arrangement of the government in accordance with the Public Financial Management System (PFMS). Though Ghana as a country has chalked some success in terms of achieving all the eight features of open budget index but has missed the first target pre-budget statement, Osei-Bempeh.”

Mr. Bimpeh therefore noted that misappropriation, mismanagement and corruptions are occurring at the district so there was the need to engage the citizenry in order to ensure that the budget processes are o

For her, Senior Program Officer of International Budget Partnership on International advocacy, Claire Schouten, noted that transparency could help shine the light on leakages and also improve efficiency in public expenditures.

She emphasized that in India the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights used budget tracking and analysis to expose how the government had diverted funds for programs for Dalit communities- one of the poorest and marginalized groups in India, to finance the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Madam Schouten said there were three main ways to ensure accountability for the delivery of these goals, including guaranteeing full transparency on the government revenue, aid and spending targeted to each of the development goals.

She said there should be space for public participation in the budget process and also citizens should monitor government spending on each of the goals as part of the “means of implementation”.

“As a result of their work, the government has returned almost US$100 million of diverted funds which are now supporting services and programs for approximately 2.4 million Dalits,” She also cited Malawi as an example.

This she said, the Civil Society Coalition for Quality Basic Education had a long history of tracking education spending, including by administering questionnaires to teachers and officials at the community level.

According to her, the initiative helped to increase funds to special education, reduce rural- urban spending disparities, accelerate disbursement of teachers’ salaries and bringing Malawi close to achieving MDG 2 on primary education.

In a Recommendation statement, Communications Officer, SEND-GHANA, Pascal Kudiabor, said the budget transparency indicator should be included in the post 2015 framework to encourage government to publish timely and detailed information on their use of public resources to reach the development goals.

Again a process for monitoring government spending target towards each of the development goals should be included as a part of the means of implementation.

He lastly said more support should be given to programs that builds capacity and systems within government for making data on pans, budgets, delivery and results publicly available.

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