Nigeria Lags In Global Budget Transparency Ranking

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A recent report by the Open Budget Survey (OBS) has placed Nigeria at 92nd out of 125 countries for budget transparency. This ranking highlights significant issues in how the country shares budgetary information with its citizens.

The OBS, a tool that assesses budget transparency worldwide, gave Nigeria a score of 31 out of 100. This score is notably below the 61-point benchmark, which indicates sufficient public access to budget information.

The evaluation considered the online availability, timeliness, and completeness of eight essential budget documents. Nigeria’s performance was found lacking in several areas, particularly in providing a comprehensive executive budget proposal.

The executive budget proposal is crucial as it details revenue sources and allocations to various ministries. This information helps citizens understand the nation’s fiscal health and spending priorities.

To improve its transparency, the OBS recommended several measures for Nigeria. One key suggestion is for the Auditor-General to audit the federation’s accounts and report to the National Assembly within 180 days after the fiscal year ends.

Currently, Nigeria’s audit reports are significantly delayed. For instance, the 2020 audit report was only published in January 2024, far beyond the recommended timeframe.

The survey also advised that mid-year reviews and in-year reports be published online promptly. The Ministry of Finance, Budget, and National Planning was urged to release mid-year reviews within three months after the end of the fiscal year.

Further recommendations include making information on the government’s financial and non-financial assets public. Additionally, there should be an analysis of how macroeconomic factors impact expenditure, revenue, and debt estimates.

The report acknowledged that Nigeria’s legislature and supreme audit institution provide adequate oversight during the budget process, with a score of 61 out of 100. However, the OBS noted that oversight is stronger during the planning stage than during implementation.

To improve legislative oversight, the OBS suggested that legislative committees should publish their analyses of the budget proposal and in-year budget implementation reports online. Additionally, the Office of the Auditor-General should receive adequate funding, determined by an independent body, to ensure effective audit oversight

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