Access Information and Citizen Involvement in State Budget (BF0012)
Action Plan: Burkina Faso Action Plan 2017-2019
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: Ministry of Economy Finance and Development (MINEFID)
Support Institution(s): MINEFID, National Assembly, Court of Auditors; MENA, Santé, CIFOEB, CGD, REN-LAC, AMBF, ARBF
Policy AreasCapacity Building, E-Government, Fiscal Openness, Public Participation, Public Participation in Budget/Fiscal Policy, Publication of Budget/Fiscal Information, Sustainable Development Goals
What is the public issue for which the commitment is made to address?: Low involvement of citizens in budget development and implementation: few opportunities are given to public to participate in budget process. The Open Budget Index (IBP) completed in 2015, revealed that Burkina Faso’s score is 10/100 in terms of public participation in budget process.; What isthe commitment?: Challenges : • Citizen participation in budget process ; • Consideration of populations’ real concerns in budget. Global Objective: Ensuring strong citizen involvement in budget process for transparency and accountability in public finance management. Expected Outcomes : • Citizens actively participate in budget process ; • Populations’ aspirations are taken into account in State budget ; • Increased control of budget implementation by citizens.; How will such commitment contribute towards solving this public issue?: Implementation of this commitment will help to provide more opportunities for citizen participation in budget process. Actually, activities will provide an opportunity for citizens to monitor budget implementation and delivery of quality public goods and services; Why is such commitment relevant in terms of PGO Values?: This commitment is relevant for PGO values, as citizen involvement in budget process is the subject matter of the commitment. In addition, This will contribute towards increasing transparency and accountability in budget process.; Additional Information: This commitment is one the evaluation criteria of the public finance management system for international instruments such as IBP, PEFA and CPIA. This is also a priority in the national development framework (PNDES), namely its main line 1, and in the sector-based policy of the economy and finance It is connected with item 4 of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 related to the establishment of efficient, accountable and open institutions.; Important activities with deliverable outcomes that can be easily checked: Hosting information meetings on State budget breadlines for year n+1for civil society private sector and local authorities: Beginning Date: June 2018 - Closing Date: Continuously, Activity cost (CFA F) 26 000 000; Building capacities of civil society organizations on public finance. January 2018 - June 2019, Activity cost (CFA F): 10 000 000; Posting online, on DGB and MINEFID website, the list of budget documents for publication as well as deadlines for publication with users. November 2017 -December 2017, Activity cost (CFA F): PM; Hosting communication and information meetings on budget: January 2018 – Continuously, Activity cost (CFA F): 10 000 000; Re-launching the budget newspaper « Budget infos »: January 2018 - June 2019, Activity cost (CFAF): 10 000 000; Using radio, television and printed media channels to share budget information and data: January 2018 - June 2019, Activity cost (CFA F): 15 000 000; Producing and disseminating the « Citizen Budget » in the thirteen (13) regions: January 2018 - June 2019, Activity cost (CFA F): Activity cost (CFA F): 20 000 000
IRM Midterm Status Summary
12. Improving access by public to information, as well as citizen involvement in State budget development and implementation
Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:
“Improving access by public to information, as well as citizen involvement in State budget development and implementation”
- Citizen participation in budget process;
- Consideration of populations’ real concerns in budget.
Global objective: Ensuring strong citizen involvement in budget process for transparency and accountability in public finance management
- Citizens actively participate in budget process;
- populations’ aspirations are taken into account in State budget;
- Increased control of budget implementation by citizens
Hosting information meetings on State budget breadlines for year n+1for civil society private sector and local authorities.
Building capacities of civil society organizations on public finance.
Posting online, on DGB and MINEFID website, the list of budget documents for publication as well as deadlines for publication with users
Hosting communication and information meetings on budget
Re-launching the budget newspaper « Budget infos »
Using radio, television and printed media channels to share budget information and data
Producing and disseminating the « Citizen Budget » in the thirteen (13) regions
Start Date: November 2017 End Date: June 2019
Action Plan is available here
Context and Objectives
This commitment addresses the low participation of citizens in the development and implementation of the budget. According to the Open Budget Survey for 2017, Burkina Faso’s score on public participation in the budget process was 0 of 100.  The survey found that none of the country’s branches of power–executive, legislative, or the High Oversight Institution−allow citizen participation in the budget process.  According to the mayor of a rural community (Laye), the state budget is fixed and not subject to change, which blocks citizens from guiding budget implementation.  A member of the Center for Democratic Governance stated that while citizens can attend orientation debates held at the National Assembly, they cannot voice their opinions or intervene during deliberations. 
A study conducted by the World Bank, the Centre on Budget Training, Information and Training (CIFOEB), and the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Development in 2016 revealed a number of reasons preventing citizens from participating in the budget process.  The executive does not consult citizens at any point on the development of the budget.  No publications are available on the internet; citizens have low comprehension of budget affairs and consider them a matter for local representatives and technocrats.  Budget information is complicated.  As local budget information is unavailable, very few people follow news about budgetary matters. The frequency of budget execution oversight by the citizens is very low. 
Based on the 2017 Open Budget Survey for Burkina Faso, the International Budget Partnership (IBP) recommended, among other things, developing annual legislative audiences in which members of the public can participate; allowing citizens to partner with the High Oversight Institution to create the Institution’s audit program and participate in investigations; and communications between the executive branch and CSOs on budget affairs during budget formation and implementation.  In this context, the commitment seeks to ensure strong citizen involvement in the budget process for transparency and accountability. To do so, the commitment foresees launching communication activities on budget affairs through media, a newsletter, capacity-building, and hosting meetings between the government and civil society on budget affairs.
This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information as six out of the seven activities provide citizens with budget information through the internet, a newsletter, media, and meetings. While the commitment will help citizens develop skills, it does not explicitly mention opportunities for citizens to engage in public financial management.
As written in the action plan, most of the objectives, results and activities are specific enough to be objectively verified. Activities can be verified by the number of meetings held, a budget newspaper being released, and media channels for providing individuals with budget information. Capacity-building activities and the expected results are not specific enough to be verifiable, as they are expressed in general terms.
If implemented, the commitment will contribute to solving the problem, although not to the full extent. This commitment is an incremental but positive step in the field of budget participation. Therefore, the potential impact of this commitment is graded as minor.
While the commitment’s activities strive to increase access to information, there is no activity to enhance or guarantee public participation in budget formation and implementation. For instance, the commitment does not foresee enacting legislation that requires civil participation during these processes; this would be an important change. Nor does the commitment propose socialization campaigns among public officials on involving civil society actors in the deliberation process for defining the budget.
It is worth mentioning that access to budget information may be prevented due to the lack of implementation of Law 051, as covered in previous commitments. It is unclear whether the government will guarantee participation during meetings with the civil society. None of the activities seem to address any of the IBP recommendations on these topics.
- This commitment could be continued as a tool to support the government’s public policy objectives, but not necessarily included in future action plans.
- A major constraint is the lack of ensuring effective civil society participation during budget development. Therefore, future activities should ensure participation at all levels of the budget development process through a legal instrument and/or body with jurisdiction throughout the country.
- Consider supplemental activities that address IBP’s suggestions and concerns.
- Simplify budget data for easier comprehension in light of World Bank, CIFOEB, and Ministry of Economy’s findings.
- Extend capacity-building activities on budget affairs to local representatives.
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