Greater transparency around public finance will help us make better budgets since it allows the country to better understand the reasons for the delays and provide room to address the same. Is Sri Lanka getting more transparent about the implementation status of its Budget Promises?
What is Budget Promises?
BudgetPromises.Org tracks new expenditure proposals or ‘promises’ in the Budget Speech (listed in Annex 2 of the speech) which have an allocation of over LKR 1,000 million. In 2017, the platform tracked 37 proposals valued at LKR 116,910 million. In 2018, the platform tracks 38 promises with a total value of LKR 149,350 million.
The platform is updated twice a year and assesses each of these promises using two indicators: Openness and Progress. A mid-year assessment of performance for the first six months is released in October of the year and a year-end assessment of performance for the full year is released in April/May of the following year.
This tracks to what extent the government is saying what it is doing about each promise. It measures the government’s level of disclosure of information about the implementation of each promise. The tracker uses information obtained via (i) relevant government websites; (ii) visits to government agencies; and (iii) requests filed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.
The mid-year assessment measures the extent to which the government has been open about disclosing information on the implementation of the first six months of progress on budget promises. The year-end assessment measures the government’s openness on disclosing information on progress for the full year.