Vietnam scores poorly on budget transparency survey

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Vietnam ranked among the 36 countries with the least transparent budgets, according to the 2012 Open Budget Index (OBI), a biennial survey conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP).

Scoring 19 out of a possible 100 points, Vietnam ranked well below of other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand (36 points), the Philippines (50) and Indonesia (62).

Established in 2006, the Open Budget Index provides an independent, comparative, and regular analysis of the transparency and accountability of governmental budgets worldwide. It rates governments in accordance with international criteria on how much access the public has to the national budget.

Vietnam had lower score than many other countries because the draft of the national budget is not made public before being approved by the National Assembly. Meanwhile, 79 out of 100 countries in the survey do make national budget drafts public, following the fiscal transparency guidelines set by the International Monetary Fund in 2007.

Conducted every two years, the 2012 Survey revealed that the national budgets of 77 of the 100 countries assessed failed to meet basic standards of budget transparency, according to a report on the IBP website.

Scores for the 2012 OBI were very low. Of the 100 countries studied, the average score was just 43. The governments of 21 countries do not even publish their Executive Budget Proposal, the most critical document for understanding a government's plans to manage its country's finances, the report said.

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