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    Ex Finance Minister urges Uganda to achieve transparency budget threshold.

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    Ex Finance Minister urges Uganda  to achieve transparency budget threshold.
    • June 10, 2024 • 6 days ago
    in summary
    According to former finance minister Fred Jachan Omach, Uganda still needs to put in more effort into a transparent budget threshold.

    Even after being recognized for having the most open budget in East Africa, Uganda still has a long way to go in achieving full budget transparency, according to former finance minister Fred Jachan Omach.

    Business

    Speaking at a recent economic forum in Kampala, Omach highlighted the progress Uganda has made in budget transparency but stressed the need for continued improvements.

    He praised the country’s efforts, which have earned it the distinction of having the most open budget in the region. However, he cautioned against complacency, noting that achieving the budget transparency threshold is important in developing public trust and enhancing economic governance.

    “While it is commendable that Uganda leads East Africa in budget openness, we must recognize that there is still much work to be done,” Omach said. “Transparency is not just about making information available; it is about ensuring that this information is accessible, understandable, and actionable for all citizens.”

    Uganda’s advancements in budget transparency are evident in its performance on the Open Budget Index, an independent measure of budget transparency and accountability.

    The country’s scores have consistently improved over the years, reflecting efforts to make budget documents publicly available and involve citizens in the budgeting process. These initiatives include publishing budget proposals, reports, and audits in a timely manner and conducting public consultations.

    Omach, however, pointed out several areas where Uganda can improve. One key challenge is the complexity of budget documents, which are often not user-friendly for the average citizen. There are concerns about the timeliness and completeness of the information provided.

    While documents may be published, they are not always comprehensive or released in a timely fashion, limiting their utility for stakeholders.

    “Transparency involves more than just publishing documents; it requires making those documents meaningful,” Omach emphasized. “We need to simplify these documents and ensure they are released in a timely manner so that citizens can engage with them effectively.”

    Budget transparency enhances government accountability, allowing citizens to see how public funds are being allocated and spent. This can reduce corruption and improve the efficiency of public spending.

    Transparent budgeting develops public trust in government institutions and encourages civic participation in the policymaking process.

    Omach highlighted that achieving the budget transparency threshold is not just a matter of meeting international standards but is essential for Uganda’s own economic and social development.

    “Transparent budgeting can lead to better economic outcomes by ensuring resources are used efficiently and effectively. It also helps build trust between the government and its citizens, which is vital for social cohesion and stability,” he said.

    To achieve full budget transparency, Omach recommended several measures. He called for the simplification of budget documents to make them more accessible to the general public. This involves using plain language and visual aids such as infographics and charts to present budget information.

    He stressed the importance of timely publication of all budget documents.

    “Timeliness is key. Budget information needs to be available when it is most useful to stakeholders,” Omach noted.

    Omach advocated for increased public participation in the budgeting process. This means not only holding public consultations but also ensuring that the input from these consultations is reflected in the final budget.

    Engaging civil society organizations, academia, and the private sector can also provide valuable insights and enhance the transparency process.

    He suggested taking advantage of technology to enhance budget transparency. Digital platforms can make it easier to disseminate budget information and engage with the public. Omach urged the government to invest in such technologies and train officials in their use.

    While Uganda has made great progress in budget transparency, achieving the transparency threshold requires ongoing efforts and commitment. By simplifying budget documents, ensuring timely publication, increasing public participation, and taking advantage of technology, Uganda can set a benchmark for budget transparency not only in East Africa but across the continent.

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