About the blog
This blog follows government and civil society collaboration in Indonesia and Mexico as they work to build greater transparency in government budgeting through the adoption of open budget portals. The collaboration also focuses on getting other countries in Latin America and Asia to improve accountability, transparency and access to government budget information.
Background on the collaboration
How public resources are allocated is critical to reducing inequality. For poor and marginalized groups, access to reliable public financing and budget information is a prerequisite for making government budget allocations more accountable and responsive to people’s needs. This is particularly important for improving public service delivery and creating jobs for low-income and lower middle-income people. Yet, in many countries, information and data on government budgets are opaque to the public and only accessible to policy makers.
In 2008, the Indonesian Parliament passed the Public Information Transparency Law [pdf] to increase public access to government budget information. However, eight years later the government is still struggling to implement it effectively. Most ministries and local governments in the country have yet to develop a system of transparency that is consistent with what is mandated by the law.
In 2014, the Indonesian Ministry of Finance indicated its interest to the Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency (FITRA), a Ford grantee, in developing an open budget portal to provide public access to data and information on the national budget. This was a major step by the ministry because making the national budget more accessible to the public requires greater transparency within all national government ministries. FITRA, FUNDAR (Centro de Analisis Investigation), and the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) welcomed the approach.
There are three advantages of having open budget portals:
- Information on revenues, expenditures, debts, and the activities of the Finance Ministry will be available to the public through the portal.
- The portal can be used to publish budget information for different audiences from citizens and advocacy groups to technical experts and academics.
- It can be used as a repository for fiscal data produced by government agencies. The portal can be equipped with search and query functions that allow for more specific analysis of fiscal data.