Ministries' budget transparency "slightly improved" in 2021

October 19, 2022 - 10:08
The Ministry Open Budget Index (MOBI) in 2021 has grown by 9.26 points to 30.9 out of 100 points.


Research panel of the MOBI answering questions at a press conference on Tuesday in Hà Nội. — VNA/VNS Photo Anh Đức

 Anh Đức

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry Open Budget Index (MOBI) in 2021 grew by 9.26 points to 30.9 out of 100 points.

The result suggested that ministries and authorities have been more transparent in budget information for 2021. However, the index is still at a worryingly low level.

Out of the 44 ministries and organisations researched, the Ministry of Finance topped the list with a score of 76.16. VTV and the State Bank of Việt Nam placed second and third with 72.09 points and 59.09 points, respectively.

The index was published on Tuesday by the Budget Transparency Alliance for Progress (BTAP), the Việt Nam Centre for Economic and Strategic Studies (VESS), and the Centre for Development and Integration (CDI) at a press conference in Hà Nội.

According to the creators, MOBI is calculated based on four main criteria: readiness, completeness, availability and continuity of budget documents.

"We recognised the effort of authorities to improve budget transparency," said Nguyễn Quang Thương, CEO of CDI.

"In the three years from 2018 to 2020, no ministries and authorities met the criteria for 'complete' budget transparency, but in 2021 we have made progress due to the efforts of the Ministry of Finance, VTV and the State Bank."

"However, we still have a long way to go to achieve the budget transparency goal of the 2015 Law on State Budget," Thương added.

According to the report, up until March 31, 2022, 14 ministries and authorities have not publicised budget documents on their online portal pages.

"After almost a decade of the new Law on State Budget being implemented, authorities seemed to have not seriously publicised their budget," said Nguyễn Đức Thành, Director of VESS, "This is a worrying reality in public management."

Along with the MOBI for state agencies, BTAP also has another index on budget transparency, the POBI, used for rating the public budget transparency of provinces.

POBI 2021 results, published on September 29, are more than double the MOBI at 69.53 out of 100 points.

"When compared to the localities, the transparency of state agencies and ministries has not improved," said Assoc. Prof. Dr. Vũ Sỹ Cường of the Việt Nam Academy of Finance, "Central government agencies must play a primary role in publicising their budgets."

In terms of the four criteria, MOBI has shown that more efforts are needed from government agencies to have a more transparent and accessible budget.

For the criterion "Availability of Budget Documents", only 30 out of 44 government authorities have published at least one budget document in 2021. However, none of the 44 agencies published the documents on time, thus failing to qualify for the "Readiness" criterion.

Thirty-three agencies passed the "Accessibility" criterion, with documents being published in accessible formats such as PDFs and Excel spreadsheets.

In terms of "Completeness", the Ministry of Finance, VTV and the State Bank of Việt Nam are still the pioneers. The MoF led with 53.49 points in completeness.

The research panel and creators of the MOBI also recommended the Government and the National Assembly urge authorities to adhere to public budget transparency rules, in compliance with the Law on State Budget. — VNS