'Liberia Shows Progress in Fiscal Transparency'

The IBP report says Liberia has improved in the index score sheet of budget transparency from 38 percent in 2019 to 45 percent in 2021.

-IBP Report Indicates

The International Budget Partnership (IBP) report has rated Liberia as one of the countries in the sub-region that has made progress on the issue of fiscal transparency. 

IBP is a global partnership of budget analysts, community organizers, and advocates working to advance public budget systems that work for people, not special interests. 

The report says the country has improved in the index score sheet of budget transparency from 38 percent in 2019 to 45 percent in 2021.

According to the report, Liberia subscribed to the principles of open governance and became a member of the International Open Government Partnership (IGP) in 2012, the International Budget Partnership (IBP) and most recently, in 2019, applied for full stewardship to the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT).  

Liberia's progress came as a result of a robust plan initiated by the government to ensure effectiveness in fiscal transparency and accountability. Today it has brought some major achievements following strides made over the years. 

“The government remains committed to fiscal transparency, making available all of its financial reports and documentation in the public domains — public discourses, print and electronic media outlets,” the report said. “Moreover, there have been efforts by the government to initiate awareness about fiscal transparency in communities. 

“With regard to the international budget partnership transparency report, Liberia has improved in the index score sheet of budget transparency from 38 percent in 2019 to 45 percent in 2021,” the document added. 

It is expected that in August of this year (2022), Liberia will be officially admitted into the GIFT Stewardship Network in Bogota, Republic of Colombia. 

Since its ascendancy to the IBP, the country has participated in seven (7) rounds of Open Budget Surveys (OBS), which are periodically conducted every two years by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), a subsidiary of the World Bank Group. 

“Together, we generate data, advocate for reform, and build people's skills and knowledge so that everyone can have a voice in budget decisions that impact their lives. Liberia’s current OBI stands at 45% as of the 2021 OBS report, while under the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Agreement, the country is required to produce annually and make publicly available in a timely manner,” the report read. 

The government is also expected to hold 15 town hall meetings and 15 live radio phone-in talk shows to discuss the national budget and related budget documentation, as well as to answer public questions about its fiscal reports, including the national budget. 

As per the OGP, there will be a publication in at least five widely read local dailies and on government websites of its fiscal reports and key information regarding the preparation, adoption, approval, execution, and reporting of the national budget, including making available to the public free of cost, in an interactive, user-friendly, and machine-readable format, eight types of budget documents in a timely manner as set by law. 

Additionally, in an effort to improve and increase fiscal transparency, the government has devised a plan to improve its index score in each of the three dimensions. 

Beginning with the preparation of the FY2023 National Budget, a Fiscal Transparency Advisory Group will be inaugurated, consisting of both government and civil society organizations, and the implementation of town hall consultations to solicit citizens’ input for determining budget priorities for the FY2023 National Budget. 

In addition, the government will complete, commission, and launch the go-live of several digital platforms, including the Citizen’s Budget Portal, Citizen’s Feedback Mechanism, etc., which will provide opportunities and more access to its fiscal data.