Namibia is one of the countries that has made great improvements in public participation and transparency in its budget accountability process. This was revealed at Namibia's Open Budget Survey launch in Windhoek.

This is according to the 2023 Open Budget Survey Global Findings. 

Based on the survey's open budget index score, scaled from zero to 100, Namibia obtained a 54 in transparency in terms of how the public accesses information about how the government raises and spends public resources. 

This is compared to the 42 it scored in 2021. 

"Looking at the transparency recommendation for this specific round, the first is to publish the financial reports online and in a timely manner; the second is to include the end-year report comparisons between borrowing estimates and actual outcomes and comparisons between the regional microeconomic focus and actual outcomes for the overview that goes through the technicalities of the budget document; and to improve the comprehensiveness of the citizens budget and the other budgets, for example, to include debt and revenue comparisons," said IPPR's Research Associate, Martha Nangolo.

Namibia is also ranked fourth out of 125 countries in budget public participation. 

The Executive Director at IPPR, Graham Hopwood, said, "Historically, if you look at the budget open survey, we have been scoring zero in the public participation element, and that has changed in the last few years, so we, civil society, have been meeting with the ministry of finance and the national planning commission to raise what we felt was prioritised for the upcoming budgets, and last year we were able to provide to the ministry around the middle of the year."

In budget oversight, the country scored 46. This is because the government provided weak oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and limited oversight during the implementation stage. 

"I am informed that the results of the 2023 Namibia Open Budget Survey ranking have improved in comparison to preceding years. This demonstrates that our efforts are slowly but surely starting to yield some positive outcomes. Nonetheless, there is still room for improvement. We still need to continue redoubling our efforts as we go with the process to ensure that all Namibian citizens have access to budget information and are integrated to the full extent of participating in the national budgeting process," noted Minister of Finance and Public Enterprises, Iipumbu Shiimi.

"In the same vein that we recognise that we have made progress, it is reported that some government entities return money to the Treasury, which, if continued, is not going to help us achieve the intended budget objectives. We need to work together to ensure that all resources allocated to the ministry are fully utilised for the intended objectives they were allocated to," UNICEF's Country Representative, Samuel Ocran, also added.

The Open Budget Survey compared 125 countries in the areas of budget accountability systems, public availability of budget information, and public participation opportunities in the budget processes.



NH !Noabeb & July Nafuka