MEASURING BUDGET TRANSPARENCY OF THE MACEDONIAN MUNICIPALITIES - TRANSPARENCY AND ACCOUNTABILITY AT LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEVEL

Vesna Garvanlieva Andonova, Ana Marija Petrovska, Marjan Nikolov

Abstract


The transparency strengthens the credibility of the government policies and improves fiscal discipline while at the same time enables a platform for enhanced citizens’ satisfaction of the public services; participation of the
citizens in the process of preparation of the public policies and ultimately increases the willingness to pay (more) for the public services. An effective local governments’ transparency is necessary for accountability. While these
two are not an end in itself are however pertinent means to support an effective and inclusive decision-making within the budgeting process. The legal and budgetary mechanism that enable contribution from the local communities/
citizens are particularly important for certain local government decisions in order to increase the accessibility to the general public i.e. the citizens at large.
This paper evaluates the budget transparency among the eighty one (81) local self-government units in Macedonia through an index measuring the degree and the method of disclosure of eight (8) budget process related documents. The objective of this paper is to analyze the transparency of the local self government units’ budget process and the availability of the “key” budget process documents; their accessibility and the methods of accessibility, in order to determine whether there has been an improvement or decline from 2014-2015 to 2017-2018.1 The research establishes a scoring tool combining the number of budget related documents made accessible and the source of availability however not considering the content quality or the efficiency of effectiveness of the budget execution.

The scoring methodology used for determining the level of availability and transparency of the LSGU budget process in all municipalities in Macedonia covers scoring of the budget transparency both based on the level and manner (source) of availability of the basic process documents. For the purposes of this paper, local government budget transparency is measured by the number of available key budget documents disclosed and the medium/source where these are published, being scored on a scale from minimum 0 to maximum 16 index
score points.
The availability of the eight documents does not indicate outright budget process transparency nor do we suggest that in means absolute accountability of the authorities however it demonstrates a step towards increased citizens informed and active civic participation.


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