Fiji and Papua New Guinea (PNG) are ranked amongst the worst countries in the world in terms of public participation in the preparation and allocation of their respective national budgets.
This was revealed in the 2021 Open Budget Survey (OBS) that was carried out in over 120 countries around the globe.
Fiji and PNG were the only two Pacific countries that took part in the survey.
The OBS report assesses the 120 countries in three categories: public participation, oversight, and transparency.
Scoring well in these categories is vitally important because it shows that members of the public have a say in their national budget.
In the OBS scores, Fiji is ranked 79 out of 120 countries whereas PNG is rated 51 for budget transparency.
For public participation, OBS recorded that Fiji scored 17 out of 100 whilst PNG scored 0.
Public participation promotes democracy and transparency.
Both the Fijian and PNG governments have ensured more public participation and transparency in their budget processes.
The scores in this survey were recorded from 0-100. Fiji scored 37 for transparency in the open budget index and 17 for public participation.
Summary – Fiji
– Budget oversight by Legislature and Supreme Audit Institution – Fiji scored 28.
– Oversight by the legislature – Fiji scored 17.
– Oversight by Supreme Audit Institution – Fiji scored 50.
Summary – PNG
– Budget oversight by Legislature and Supreme Audit Institution – PNG scored 28.
– Oversight by legislature – PNG scored 25.
– Oversight by Supreme Audit Institution – PNG scored 23.
Both the Pacific countries scored 28 along with China in the OBS Oversight scores. The Pacific Advocate has asked Fiji’s Minister of Economy for comment but has received no response.