The FINANCIAL -- Verdict: Mamuka Bakhtadze’s statement is TRUE.
Resume: The International Budget Partnership Index aims to assess the transparency of budget processes in different countries. There are 109 indicators used in the survey which, on the one hand, measure the timeliness of budget documents which are publicly available and, on the other hand, assess the comprehensiveness of the information in the documents. In accordance with the International Budget Partnership Index’s 2017 report, Georgia is in the fifth position with 82 points (out of a total of 100) and only ranks behind New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and Norway. As compared to 2015 (the previous report), Georgia moved forward by 11 positions in the ranking whilst the index itself improved by 16 points. Since 2006, both Georgia’s ranking points as well as its position in the ranking have had a positive tendency.
The Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze, whilst addressing the Parliament of Georgia, emphasised that Georgia is in the fifth position in the world in terms of budget transparency.
FactCheck took interest in the accuracy of the Prime Minister’s statement.
The International Budget Partnership’s (IBP) 2017 Global Report contains budget transparency assessments for 115 different countries. In the case of
Georgia, the survey was carried out by Transparency International – Georgia. There are 109 different indicators used to calculate the Open Budget Index. The survey aims to evaluate the performance of a government in terms of the timely publication of eight primary budget documents (a country’s primary data and main directions, the draft state budget, budget law, citizen budget guidelines, state budget quarterly fulfilment reports, state budget six month fulfilment report, state budget 12 month fulfilment report) and whether or not the information given in these documents is comprehensive.
In the 2017 Open Budget Index, Georgia’s performance earned 82 points out of a possible 100 which puts the country in the fifth position among 115 different nations.
Table 1: Open Budget Index 2006-2017
Source: International Budget Partnership
As illustrated in the table, Georgia’s index points have a tendency of growth through the entire period with its points having increased from 34 to 82 within the period of 2006-2017. Therefore, the changes in Georgia’s ranking positions have also been on the positive side. In 2006, Georgia was 30th of 40 countries in terms of the given parameter, moving up to the fifth position in 2017 and only lagging behind New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden and Norway from the 115 territorial units.
The involvement of citizens in budget processes and the issues of effective budget oversight are not parts of the Open Budget Index although they are closely related to it. Of the possible 100 points for citizen involvement and budget oversight, Georgia received 22 points and 74 points, respectively, which put it in the 17th and 18th positions, also respectively.