BudgIT, a civic organization that uses technology to promote fiscal transparency and public sector accountability, has launched operations in Ghana. Riding on our eight-year experience in Nigeria using creative technology to simplify public information, stimulating a community of active citizens and enabling their right to demand accountability, institutional reforms, efficient service delivery and equitable society – this development comes as a replica to upscale citizen engagement on issues of public finance and governance in Ghana.
A pioneer in the field of social advocacy, BudgIT uses an array of tech tools to simplify the budget and matters of public spending for citizens, with the primary aim of raising the standard of transparency and accountability in government. “This exactly is our ultimate goal in Ghana, focusing on four core programme areas: budget access, project tracking, extractive transparency and institutional support,” says Gabriel Okeowo, BudgIT principal lead.
According to Okeowo, Ghana, like most developing countries, still grapples with low level of transparency in the management of public resources and accountability on the part of public officials among other corruption issues. “For democracies to thrive, transparency and accountability is sacrosanct. This forms the reason why mechanisms must be steadily in place to keep citizens informed and engaged,” he added.
While it is on record that the Ghanian government is making commendable efforts in making its budget documents publicly available via online mediums, more actions are still needed. Okeowo noted, “A budget document is said to be credible and effective when it is made available in a version that is easily digestible, which encourages public engagement irrespective of citizens’ literacy level. We want to help Ghana achieve this.”
BudgIT believes that this initiative will significantly improve the level of transparency and accountability in Ghana, and equally create an online platform for both citizens and public officials to engage. Ultimately, this will foster the principles of Open Government Partnership (OGP) which the country already subscribed to, while keeping her as a model for other countries in Africa.