SA takes first place in 2019 Open Budget Index Survey

PUBLISHED: Mon, 04 May 2020 16:45:40 GMT

South Africa has been ranked first alongside New Zealand, out of 117 countries in the 2019 Open Budget Index (OBI) Survey.

According to the National Treasury, the global results reflect a modest improvement in budget transparency, reversing the decline seen in 2017 results and restoring the upward trend shown since the inception of the survey.

Read the full statement below:


South Africa has once again come joint first with New Zealand in the 2019 Open Budget Index (OBI) conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) through an Open Budget Survey. The win is in recognition of the country’s commitment to a transparent budget process. This is a repeat of the result from the 2017 OBI.

Over the years, South Africa has consistently entrenched its reputation as a global leader in budget transparency. This is evidenced in the expansive budget information that is published for public analysis and scrutiny.

Past survey results have been used to identify gaps in budget transparency and informed measures and mechanisms adopted to address those gaps. The reforms implemented between 2017 and 2019 include, among others:

  • Launch of the online budget portal
  • Introduction of a Central Supplier Database and other procurement reforms undertaken by the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer to enhance transparency in bidding for government contracts
  • Annual budget outreach at institutions of higher learning
  • Enhanced commitment of the South African Government to engage with civil society organizations to ensure increased participation in the budget process.

SA ranked first out of 117 countries. The global results reflect a modest improvement in budget transparency, reversing the decline seen in 2017 results and restoring the upward trend shown since the inception of the survey. The global average transparency score is 45 out of 100 and South Africa scored 87 out of 100, a score all South Africans should be proud of.

The global average public participation score is 14 out of 100. While South Africa scored 24 out of 100 in this category, it is needless to say that this is a score that requires innovation to improve. In an effort to improve on this score, South Africa in partnership with International Budget Partnership (IBP) and Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) are embarking on a 3-year pilot project to work on mechanisms to include public participation in the budget process with the assistance of civil society.

The final category is oversight. Out of the 117 countries surveyed, only 34 had adequate oversight from legislature, while 71 had adequate oversight from audit institutions. South Africa scored 75 out of 100 on legislative oversight and 100 on audit institution.

It is clear that achieving first place cannot be a victory for the finance ministry alone but all the institutions that demonstrate commitment to transparency as entrenched in our Constitution.

South Africa remains committed to constantly improving the budget process in order to maintain its international reputation as a global leader in budget transparency even during the global pandemic of Covid-19.

The OBI survey provides a comprehensive review of South Africa’s budget process. Citizens are encouraged to use information published in budget documents for effective analysis and research

Issued by National Treasury

Date: 04 May 2020

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