Georgia is now the highest ranked country on budget transparency in Open Budget Survey 2021 published by the International Budget Partnership on Tuesday.
The country's score has risen by more than 30 points since 2008, with the ranking recognising its budget transparency amid the pandemic.
In 2020, as pandemic-strained governments struggled to operate effectively, Georgia led the world in budget transparency practices, scoring 87 out of 100 in OBS 2021. This is an increase of six points from OBS 2019, reflecting the Ministry of Finance’s work to continue publishing timely and comprehensive budget documents'', reads the report.
OBS 2021 highlighted Georgia’s progress in improving its Financial Management Information System, which enabled the country to withstand the challenges posed by the pandemic and "the government was well positioned to operate online when pandemic restrictions forced officials to work remotely".
The index also said "regular coordination" had also "bolstered the country’s budgetary system" and noted the International Monetary Fund and the European Union had helped pave
the way for Georgia to produce budget documents in line with international standards.
The ranking also notes challenges still remaining in the field for the country.
"Mechanisms for public participation in the central budget process remain underutilised," it said while adding the latest improvements demonstrated budget accountability in Georgia "is not just a temporary endeavor, but an ongoing commitment to embedding good budgeting practices over time that are capable of weathering challenges and crises".
The Georgian Ministry of Finance explained that measures taken within the financial management reform, including improving medium-term planning, introducing programme budgets, increasing reporting comprehensiveness, introducing and improving electronic public financial management systems and other measures had led to the "success" in the index.
Using 109 indicators to measure budget transparency, countries were given a score out of 100 for each category that measured how governments managed public finances. These indicators assess whether central governments made eight key budget documents available to the public online in a timely manner and whether these documents present budget information in a comprehensive and useful way.
The eight documents are the pre-budget statement, executive’s budget proposal, enacted budget, citizens' budget, in-year reports, mid-year review, year-end report and audit report.
The OBS was first published in 2006, with Georgia listed 30th with 34 points and among the least transparent countries.