Budget transparency in post-revolution Egypt
Post-revolution government in Egypt is less transparent than its predecessor, according to the Open Budget Index (OBI) 2012. Egypt scored 13 out of 100 on the survey conducted by the International Budget Partnership (IBP), marking a sharp decline on its score of 49 achieved in the previous OBI of 2010.
“Egypt’s score indicates that the government provides the public with very little information on the national government’s budget allocation and spending activities during the course of the budget year, making it challenging for citizens to engage with the government in the decision-making process and to hold it accountable for its management of public funds,” said the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), IBP's Egyptian partner.
Regressing 36 points made Egypt the worst performer in this year’s survey. IBP clarified that Egypt’s score was cut so dramatically because the executive’s budget proposal (mentioned by IBP as the most important budget document) and mid-year review were not publicly available at the time of research.
IBP believes that political turmoil in Egypt and other countries in the region has affected budget transparency. “Budget transparency gains can erode quickly when political circumstances change,” comment the report authors.
“The institutions in charge of producing and publishing budget documents did not perform their mandate under these conditions. In Egypt, the executive’s budget proposal was kept for internal use, while in Yemen it was not even produced," highlights IBP, adding that the two mentioned countries are clear examples of how fragile transparency gains can be, and how governments can arbitrarily suspend citizens’ access to budget information.
Egypt’s score is below other countries in the Middle East and MENA region like Jordan, Morocco and Lebanon. The region has the lowest OBI scores across the survey, with an average of 18.