Egypt is the second highest ranking country in the Middle East in terms of its budget transparency, Minister of Finance Mohamed Maait announced in a statement on Thursday.
The results, which were released as part of the Open Budget Survey 2019, shows Egypt coming in behind Jordan in the rankings.
Maait said the improvement comes after Egypt advanced 27 percentage points cumulatively during the two surveys in 2017 and 2019 on the budget transparency index.
Maait also said that Egypt has continued to climb the global budget transparency index at a steady pace, to 43 percentage points, and is close to the global average of 45 points. Egypt will exceed the average of 22 points recorded in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
He added out that the index of Egypt’s “social participation” rose by four percentage points in the 2019 report, to 15 points out of 100 points compared to 11 points in 2017. Egypt now exceeds the global average, surpassing Jordan and Morocco, the two Middle Eastern countries that achieved results on the survey similar to Egypt’s.
The minister emphasised that Egypt’s improvement illustrates the Ministry of Finance’s efforts in providing the greatest amount of information to its citizens. It also showed the comprehensiveness of reports published on the state’s general budget preparation cycle.
The budget transparency report is widely used by international institutions, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (WB), as an important measurement of a country’s investment environment, Maait said.
Deputy Finance Minister Ahmed Kouchouk emphasised the ministry’s desire to continue the progress in all transparency indicators, and to issue more simplified versions for citizens.
He said that these efforts aim to establish continuous dialogue with citizens, introduce them to the ministry’s short- and long-term financial policies and reform plans, and encourage community participation.
The sub-index for budget control increased significantly in 2019, as it achieved 50 points compared to 39 points in 2017. The increase reflects House of Representative efforts in oversight and citizen engagement, as well as fruitful cooperation between the Transparency and Community Participation Unit, the Plan and Budget Committee and other representatives.
According to a Ministry of Finance statement, the International Budget Partnership, in cooperation with civil society, measures the level of budget transparency in various countries through the open budget survey. The survey, in turn, relies on the analysis of budget data.
The availability of community participation opportunities in the budget preparation process is also measured, alongside the strength of official supervisory bodies, particularly the Central Auditing Agency.