South Africa launches online budget data portal

20 Feb 18

South Africa has launched an online budget data portal to make information more accessible ahead of the finance minister’s budget speech on Wednesday.

The portal is aimed at improving transparency and public participation in budgetary developments by making budget information more accessible, user-friendly and empowering to the general public.

The country was ranked at the top of the list, along with New Zealand, for budget transparency in the Open Budget Survey earlier this month.

At the launch of the portal, finance minister Malusi Gigaba said the government would continue to make the Treasury more accessible to ordinary South Africans so they can contribute to the preparation of the budget.

Vulekamali, the name of the portal, will exist alongside the official Treasury website, which will continue to meet the international standards for reporting and sharing budgeting information.

But the portal will publish the data in a more useful format to “the ordinary South African”.

The public has been asked to comment on how they would like the portal to work.

The portal will also allow the public to post their views and have conversations about the budget information.

Kay Brown, the Treasury’s head of budget planning and budget reform, said the current priority for budget reform is public participation, which would be achieved through the portal.

Gigaba is due to hold his budget speech on Wednesday, which he has warned involved some “tough decisions” to stabilise the country’s debt.

The budget portal was developed by Imali Yethu, a coalition of civil society organisations working to make budget information more accessible, and the National Treasury.

South Africa’s new president Cyril Ramaphosa, who was sworn in last week, has vowed to take action on corruption and boost economic growth.

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